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First of all I would like to thank the Munich Security Conference for hosting this important and very timely event.
The moment could not have been chosen better to discuss the future strategic outlook of the Alliance, also with regard to Russia.
In one month, NATO will adopt its new Strategic Concept at the Lisbon Summit.
NATO-Russia relations are a genuinly cross-cutting topic. There is practically no strategic issue on the security agenda which does not touch upon this crucial relationship. That makes it so interesting, yet also so complex and often difficult.
At the core of all this lies the still unanswered question about Russia's position within the Euro-Atlantic security architecture, which has been the subject of the discussion in the previous panel.
I will focus on the question whether the new Strategic Concept will provide some additional elements from NATO's perspective (as Germany sees it).
Let me stress that we have not yet concluded our deliberations within the Alliance. It also goes for NATO: nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.
Having said this, I would like to briefly highlight some key elements of the current draft which will certainly also be incorporated in the final version of the Strategic Concept.
The draft concept outlines three core tasks for NATO's future action: collective defence, crisis management and cooperative security (e.g. arms control and disarmament as well as partnerships).
The Alliance is not only a defence alliance, but also a security organisation. It has been a community of partners sharing the same values. This is clearly reaffirmed in the current draft.
None of NATO's member states puts the continuing centrality of the Washington Treaty into question. The core commitment as embodied in Article 5 will remain the clear frame of reference for Alliance future mission.
Given political geography and the different historic experiences of NATO member states, it is absolutely understandable and legitimate that Allies differ with regard to their need for reassurance. And the new Strategic Concept has to address this clearly.
However, reassurance and cooperative security must go hand in hand. The more we move into cooperative security (with Russia), the less reassurance is needed.
But this security equation works also in the opposite direction. And in this regard, doctrines which picture NATO as an enemy are not particularly helpful.
Russia has taken encouraging steps to improve relations and build trust with its neighbours. This should be further consolidated.
Given the evolving security environment, NATO's day-to-day business is not “collective defence”, but “crisis management”.
In recent years, the engagement in a number of complex operations in Europa and at strategic distance has provided the Alliance with a valuable list of lessons learned. To name but the most important ones:
Stability will not come alone through military means. And NATO is by no means well suited for every task.
Successful crisis management requires an integrated and comprehensive approach.
There is a need for broad participation of non-NATO members. This clearly reflects the common responsibility of the international community (well beyond NATO member states) for international crisis management operations.
International legitimacy is key. The Alliance must be committed to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and to international law. This is important for political acceptance at home and abroad.
Crisis management operations provide a unique platform for concrete NATO-Russia cooperation, including in the area of anti-piracy or counter- narcotics operations. It offers a real win-win-situation for both NATO and Russia.
The area of cooperative security certainly offers the broadest framework for NATO-Russia cooperation.
After a period of neglect, disarmament and arms control have gained new momentum in the last months. The most prominent example is the signing of the New START Agreement.
The US Nuclear Posture Review with its reflections on reduced salience of nuclear weapons and President Obama's vision on global zero have set further milestones.
NATO should not stay on the sidelines but instead contribute actively to this discussion.
We therefore welcome the openness of the US Administration to envisage the inclusion of substrategic nuclear weapons into the post-START arms control agenda and would encourage Russia to show the same openness.
On the other hand, we know that to focus solely on nuclear disarmament will not suffice. We need to create a new momentum in the field of conventional arms control as well. We therefore attach great importance to modernizing the legally binding CFE-Regime on the basis of the Adapted CFE Treaty. We should use the window of opportunity before the Astana Summit to prepare common ground for productive discussions how to achieve progress on this issue next year.
While NATO does not consider itself as a “global policeman”, it seems reasonable that the new and often hybrid risks and challenges require common action with partners around the globe. Partnerships are a valuable building block of cooperative security.
Let me conclude by saying: Russia and NATO are neighbours and partners in a world of complex and globalised threats.
Although NATO members might view Russia from different perspectives, there is no alternative to building a strategic partnership.
The NATO-Russia Council provides the framework for consultation that we have to fill with concrete substance.
Despite all political controversy, the cooperation on theatre missile defense has been successful in the past. The Obama Administration has started with a fresh approach to missile defense in Europe offering another chance to turn a divisive issue into a cooperative one.
We have a great opportunity to open a new chapter in NATO-Russia relations. There is a broad agenda and enough substance for a successful NATO-Russia Council at the NATO Summit in Lisbon. We therefore welcome the positive answer by President Medvedev to take part in the Summit.