|NRC Meeting at NATO Headquarters|
NRC Meeting at NATO Headquarters
Opening Remarks by NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson, at the Press Conference following the NATO-Russia Council meeting at the level of ministers. Brussels, Belgium, June 6, 2002. Source: NATO.
I am welcoming you to this press conference in my new capacity as Chairman of the NATO-Russia Council, following the meeting of the twenty defence ministers from NATO member states and Russia.
Only ten days after the historic decision of the Rome summit to establish the NATO-Russia Council, Defence Ministers met today to start the process of implementing the defence and military aspects of the Council’s work programme.
It is a mark of the political will underpinning the new NATO-Russia relationship that we have been able to get down to real business so quickly and so effectively.
This meeting has been prepared "at 20" by the newly established Preparatory Committee another first for the NRC.
Our statement speaks for itself. So let me highlight some of today’s decisions.
Ministers agreed to place the NRC at the forefront of international efforts to tackle today’s most pressing security challenges. This is reflected in the taskings given to NRC Ambassadors initiating practical work in the fight against terrorism, non-proliferation, and theatre missile defence.
the ministers pledged to cooperate more closely in logistics, training and exercises, and the sharing of experience on defence reform. This represents a new level of openness and transparency.
Defence Ministers agreed to look for new and novel solutions to common problems, including cooperation on air transport and air-to-air refuelling, airspace management and search and rescue at sea.
This is a substantive agenda that puts real flesh on the bones of our Rome Declaration.
I am not an idealist about the NATO-Russia relationship. It will work only because it is in the common interests of all 20 countries involved. But at the end of this meeting, I am even more optimistic about the prospects for the NATO-Russia Council than I was ten days ago in Rome.
All twenty countries have shown that they intend to fill the new structure with purpose and substance. This was an important day for us all.