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Maintaining NATO’s Preponderance

Maintaining NATO’s Preponderance

Press Statement by NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson, at the Press Conference following NAC Defense Ministerial Meeting, Brussels, 06 June 2002. Source : NATO, Brussels.

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen,

This is the third time in a little more than a month that I have the pleasure to welcome you to a major NATO press conference. Last month NATO Foreign Ministers met in Reykjavik, then the NATO-Russia summit was held in Rome and today Defense Ministers have met here in Brussels.

NATO has been very busy indeed.

Following in the footprints of Foreign Ministers, Defense Ministers today have made and adopted some fundamental decisions. These decisions will have a profound impact on the future development of NATO. They will ensure that the Alliance, and indeed conceivably an enlarged Alliance, will remain vital and effective.

Today’s decisions will pave the way for a successful summit in Prague later this year which will see the emergence of a modernized, updated NATO equipped to face the new and daunting challenges with which confront us today.

At the end of the day, our decisions on capabilities, on the review of NATO’s structures, and on measures to counter weapons of mass destruction are all about one thing: maintaining NATO’s preponderance as the only military and political organisation capable of defending and promoting the collective values of democracy, freedom, liberty and the rule of law.

Obviously, the adaptation of NATO is an evolutionary process. It will not happen overnight. And it will require dedication and money. Today, ministers took a significant step forward by embracing a new, more focussed approach to capabilities based on firm commitments and on target dates. They put forward concrete initiatives to improve our defence against weapons of mass destruction attacks, in addition to the existing capability gaps that needed to be filled. Ministers also agreed to look again at the Alliance’s overall command and control structures. This will be a comprehensive review and the aim is to take decisions on it by the Summer of 2003.

This clearly signals that NATO means business. When I look back at the progress accomplished in a remarkably short period of time, I have a distinct sense of pride. Much has been done to take into account the most recent changes in the strategic environment, from the tragic, such as the attacks on the United States of 11 September, to some of the most extraordinarily positive such as our new relations with Russia and the end of the Cold War divisions of Europe.

Ladies and gentlemen, the world is changing and so is NATO. Together, as Allies and Partners, we are determined to make it better and safer. We will do what must be done to continue to honour this solemn commitment which is the cornerstone of the North Atlantic Alliance.

Thank you.


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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).