|Towards a New Council for Joint Action at 20 |
Towards a New Council for Joint Action at 20
Meeting of the Permanent Joint Council in Defence Ministers Session Opening statement by NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson 18 December 2001. Source: NATO Statement.
Welcome to this meeting of the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council in Defence Ministers’ Session. Welcome, Minister Sergei Ivanov, to NATO Headquarters this afternoon, and welcome Minister André Flahaut of Belgium, who is in the Troika of the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council as well as still being in the Presidency of the European Union.
Ten days ago, Allied and Russian Foreign Ministers agreed to forge a new relationship with the goal of creating a new council for joint action at 20 -- with new mechanisms to be in place for the Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Reykjavik in May 2002, if not before.
It is our responsibility in Defence Ministers’ session to ensure that cooperation in the defence and military fields can give substance to these new mechanisms, and support the process on which we have embarked.
We shall also be discussing a range of other issues. Since much of the substance of NATO’s cooperation with Russia falls under the responsibility of Defence Ministers, our meeting today will explore opportunities for advancing our new relationship in areas of common interest in the defence and military field.
But first I take great pleasure in signing with Minister Sergei Ivanov an exchange of letters on the establishment of the Military Liaison Mission in Moscow.
This initiative has been in preparation on the agenda of the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council for several years. Today's signature is therefore very timely. The Military Liaison Mission will play a significant role in intensifying defence and military relations with Moscow and therefore assist significantly in introducing a new quality into our cooperation. And I would like very much to warmly thank Belgium our host nation for facilitating the arrangements for the Military Liaison Mission, along the same lines as they facilitated the NATO Information Office in Moscow as well. And I hope, Minister Flahaut, that you will take back to members of your government the gratitude of the Permanent Joint Council for the way Belgium has helped us in this particular historic mission.
Let me now before we sign the letters, give the floor to Minister Ivanov.