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NATO Foreign Ministers meeting in Berlin

For the first time since 1996, the NATO Foreign Ministers are meeting in Germany. During the two-day meeting in the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin important topics are on the agenda: perspectives for Libya and Afghanistan, the reform of the Alliance’s partnerships, and the review of NATO’s deterrent and defence posture.

Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle and NATO Secretary General Rasmussen are hosting the meeting. In addition to the 28 members of the Alliance, those countries providing troops to the ISAF mission in Afghanistan as well as the NATO-led operation in Libya, the NATO-Russia Council and the Alliance’s Commissions with Ukraine and Georgia are meeting. In total, around 60 delegations and 800 delegates are participating in the conference programme.

Political process for Libya

First, on 14 April, the NATO Foreign Ministers consulted with their operational partners on the military operations to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1973 in Libya. They also discussed possible steps towards a political solution in the North African country.

Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle emphasized:

The goal unites us. We want a free and democratic Libya. The dictator who started a civil war against his own people must go. We support the Libyans, so that they themselves can finally decide on the future of their country.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Guido Westerwelle

Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Guido Westerwelle
© Thomas Köhler, Photothek.net/AA

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Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Guido Westerwelle

Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Guido Westerwelle

Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Guido Westerwelle

In his opening statement, NATO Secretary General Rasmussen also emphasized that a political solution was sought by the international community and the Libya Contact Group, which met 13 April in Doha. NATO will continue to play its role in the efforts of the international community as long as the Libyan Regime continues to attack the population of Libya.

The NATO Foreign Ministers and their operational partners passed a declaration condemning the Gaddafi regime’s continuing violence against its own people and announcing that the pressure on the regime will be maintained as long as necessary. The only way to end the crisis was the “development of a transparent political solution”.

Statement on Libya

Topic Afghanistan

The meeting on Afghanistan followed the session on Libya. There the focus was on the transfer of responsibility for security to the Government of Afghanistan and on a long-term partnership with Afghanistan. In addition to the NATO countries and the Foreign Minister of Afghanistan, the 21 non-NATO countries contributing troops and representatives from the United Nations and the EU participated.

“In 2011 our joint mission in Afghanistan is entering into a new phase,” said Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle at the start of the session. The transfer of responsibility for the country into Afghanistan’s hands is beginning. This was to be completed by 2014, he continued. But: “Also after 2014 Afghanistan will have a strong, reliable partner in NATO.” The focus of the cooperation was to be further professionalization of Afghanistan’s security forces. At the Bonn Conference on Afghanistan in the coming December they wanted to “work under the leadership of Afghanistan to make progress in the political process”.

After that, on 14 and 15 April in the North Atlantic Council, the 28 Foreign Ministers of the Alliance will also discuss the review process of NATO’s deterrent and defence posture adopted at the Lisbon summit. This process is intended to determine which concrete assets and capabilities the Alliance should use to ensure its security in the future. The Committee on Disarmament, which was also established at the NATO summit in Lisbon, will play an important role here.

Developing partnerships

The North Atlantic Council will also discuss reforming the Alliance’s partnerships with other countries and international organizations. In Berlin they expect to pass the so-called “Berlin Package”. The package consists of three foundational documents on the further development of NATO’s partnership policy. In light of the increasingly complex global security threats, the New Strategic Concept adopted in Lisbon makes “cooperative security” a central task of NATO. Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle emphasized: “We are laying the foundation for the future of our partnership policy.”

NATO now has partnerships with more than 40 countries and international organizations. Only by working together with them will the Alliance be able to deal adequately with new global challenges such as threats in cyberspace, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, piracy, terrorism, and questions of energy security. Within the framework of the current reform of the partnership policy, all the possibilities for practical cooperation and political dialogue even outside existing partnership formats should be used more flexibly. At the same time, the independence of existing formats should be preserved.

Cooperation with Russia

The expansion of cooperation with Russia is an important issue for NATO and will be the focus of the NATO-Russia Council in Berlin on 15 April. Under German leadership, a joint project for helicopter maintenance to support Afghanistan’s helicopter fleet will be initiated. Other topics will be the cooperation in missile defence brought up at the NATO summit in Lisbon, the future of conventional arms control in Europe, and the joint fight against terrorism.


Last updated 15.04.2011

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14.04.2011

Fotos: NATO-Außenministertreffen in Berlin

Zum ersten Mal seit 1996 kommen die Außenminister der Nordatlantischen Allianz in Deutschland zusammen. Hier finden Sie Fotos der Berliner Konferenz zum Download.

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Guido Westerwelle und Sergej Lawrow

Guido Westerwelle und Sergej Lawrow

Thomas Trutschel, Photothek.net/AA Bild herunterladen

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