NATO Parliamentary Assembly/NATO

PENTAGON OFFICIAL ASKS NATO PARLIAMENTARIANS TO KEEP UP THE MOMENTUM OF THE BUCHAREST SUMMIT

Sun­day 25 May, in an address to the Defence and Secu­ri­ty Com­mit­tee meet­ing of the NATO Par­lia­men­tary Assem­bly in Berlin’s Reich­stag, Daniel Fata, US Deputy Sec­re­tary Assis­tant of Defence for Euro­pean and NATO Pol­i­cy, said that the time has come to cement the gains from the Bucharest sum­mit and not­ed the impor­tant role that mem­bers of the NATO Par­lia­men­tary Assem­bly can play in build­ing par­lia­men­tary and pub­lic sup­port to NATO.

The Bucharest sum­mit pro­duced a num­ber of impor­tant gains accord­ing to Mr Fata. The Alliance reaf­firmed its com­mit­ment to suc­cess in Afghanistan, moved for­ward toward pro­duc­ing a new Strate­gic Con­cept to guide the Alliance, and took impor­tant deci­sions on enlarge­ment. There was also sig­nif­i­cant progress on achiev­ing con­sen­sus with regard to the desir­abil­i­ty and fea­si­bil­i­ty of mis­sile defence sys­tems in Europe.

Mr Fata under­lined, how­ev­er, that NATO mem­bers will not be able to reach their goals with­out a renewed finan­cial com­mit­ment. He rec­om­mend­ed an Alliance-wide increase in defence spend­ing of 0.2 % of GDP and an increase in the per­cent­age of deploy­able forces. Giv­en the impor­tance of finance min­is­ters in bud­getary deci­sions, he sug­gest­ed that a peri­od­ic meet­ing of mem­ber state finance min­is­ters should be held at NATO to under­score the impor­tance of bring­ing defence spend­ing in line with secu­ri­ty pri­or­i­ties.

Regard­ing NATO’s rela­tion­ship with Geor­gia and Ukraine, Mr Fata stat­ed that they qual­i­fy for the Mem­ber­ship Action Plan (MAP). He not­ed a degree of frus­tra­tion in those two aspi­rant mem­bers about not being offered a MAP in Bucharest, but under­lined that NATO is com­mit­ted to bring them onto a path for even­tu­al mem­ber­ship if they con­tin­ue to make progress on their reform com­mit­ments. Mr Fata affirmed that there is no rea­son that the con­flicts in the break­away regions of Abk­hazia and South Osse­tia should pre­vent the con­tin­ued devel­op­ment of Georgia’s rela­tion­ship with NATO not­ing that “noth­ing says that frozen con­flicts pre­vent the grant­i­ng of MAP.

Speak­ing specif­i­cal­ly about the NATO mis­sion in Afghanistan, Mr Fata wel­comed the deci­sion of France to deploy addi­tion­al forces to east­ern Afghanistan, but not­ed the lack of crit­i­cal capa­bil­i­ties in the­ater that hin­dered the mis­sion. In par­tic­u­lar, he stat­ed that more heli­copters are need­ed to meet oper­a­tional demands. He praised the train­ing mis­sion for the Afghan Nation­al Army (ANA) and Afghan Nation­al Police (ANP) and not­ed that ANA units were tak­ing the lead in major oper­a­tions against insur­gents in south­ern Afghanistan. The appoint­ment of a UN rep­re­sen­ta­tive in Afghanistan, Kai Eide to bring uni­ty of efforts of the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty on the civil­ian side and work close­ly with NATO’s Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force (ISAF), the EU and indi­vid­ual nations, will improve mil­i­tary and civ­il coop­er­a­tion. Mr Fata insist­ed on the need of giv­ing Mr Eide the nec­es­sary resources that would make the dif­fer­ence.

In his final point, Mr Fata said that par­lia­men­tar­i­ans have an impor­tant role to play in edu­cat­ing the pub­lic and their col­leagues on the NATO mis­sion in Afghanistan and the need to give the Alliance the capa­bil­i­ties it needs to pur­sue the com­mon secu­ri­ty agen­da. He wel­comed the input of par­lia­men­tar­i­ans to the Atlantic Char­ter and the Strate­gic Con­cept, doc­u­ments to be draft­ed over the next two years that will guide the Alliance in the future.

The NATO PA, bring­ing togeth­er some 248 par­lia­men­tar­i­ans from 26 NATO mem­ber states, del­e­gates from 16 asso­ciate coun­tries, two Mediter­ranean asso­ciate coun­tries, the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment and par­lia­men­tary observers from sev­er­al oth­er coun­tries, includ­ing Afghanistan and Pak­istan, will meet for five days in Berlin in the Reich­stag build­ing, until May 27.

The NATO Par­lia­men­tary Assem­bly is an inter­par­lia­men­tary orga­ni­za­tion, inde­pen­dent from NATO, which pro­vides a link between NATO and the par­lia­ments of its mem­ber coun­tries. The Assem­bly also brings togeth­er leg­is­la­tors from NATO mem­ber and non-mem­ber coun­tries to con­sid­er secu­ri­ty-relat­ed issues of com­mon inter­est and con­cern.

Source:
NATO PA PRESS SERVICE, BERLIN
Rober­ta Calo­rio
Media Rela­tions Offi­cer
Mobile: + 49 173 6381 399

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