The following information
is published as Open Sources, it does not constitute any
endorsement from ISRIA. If titles are sometimes modified for better
understanding, the contents are reproduced as delivered by the official
institution that first published it. To know the origin,
click on 'view original source' at the end of the page.
Share / Bookmark this Article
Secretary General calls for new steps in NATO-Russia relations
The Secretary General of NATO, Mr. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, delivered a major policy speech at the Aspen
Institute in Rome on Friday, 17 September 2010. The speech focused on the next steps in European security, with NATO-Russia relations as the overriding theme.
Mr. Rasmussen recalled the summit in 2002 which produced the Rome Declaration on NATO-Russia relations, bringing into life the NATO-Russia Council (NRC). He said that the NRC record shows that Allies and Russia have come far to fulfil “a desire to build a lasting, inclusive peace in the Euro-Atlantic area, on the principles of democracy, cooperation, and the indivisibility of security of all states”.
However, the Secretary General argued that now the time has come to take next steps and he suggested “three tracks, in particular, where (…) we should look to make progress within Europe.” He identified these tracks as missile defence, conventional arms control and reducing the number of short-range nuclear weapons in Europe. “If we follow them [three tracks it] will lead to a different, better and safer Europe: where we don’t look over our shoulders for someone else’s tanks or fighters; where missile defences bind us together, and protect us too; and where steadily, the number of short-range nuclear weapons on the continent is going down”.
''Success generates success: the next steps with Russia''
Speech by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the
Aspen Institute in Rome
Dear Secretary General of the UniCredit Group,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thanks to you Ambassador Stefanini for your kind introduction
and also thanks to the Aspen Institute, the Istituto Affari Internazionali
and the UniCredit Group for hosting this event. An invitation
to Rome is, of course, always welcome, and I am looking forward
to my talks later today with Prime Minister Berlusconi and his
Cabinet. But I’m also very pleased to have the opportunity
to discuss with you today an issue of importance to us all: taking
the next steps in European security.
I’ve chosen this topic because I vividly remember being
in this city in 2002, in one of my first trips as Prime Minister
of Denmark, to sign the Rome Declaration on NATO-Russia Relations,
along with all the NATO Allies and President - at the time -
We came together, then, because we knew the world was changing
fundamentally, and fast. The Cold War was over; nuclear arms
reduction talks between Russia and the United States were going
well; there was a great swell of optimism that we could finally
build a Europe whole, free and at peace.
But we were also brought together by shared dangers. The terrorist
attacks of 9/11, 2001, were very vivid in our minds. So were
acts of terrorism taking place in Russia as well. Instability
in many parts of the world threatened our security, including
here in Europe. And we could foresee that proliferation of weapons
of mass destruction would become a menace looming over us all.
The NATO-Russia Council was born that day out of a desire to
build a lasting, inclusive peace in the Euro-Atlantic area, on
the principles of democracy, cooperation, and the indivisibility
of security of all states. To quote Prime Minister Berlusconi
on that day, our aim with that agreement was to secure a more
peaceful future for our children.
For his part, President Putin said, that signing the Agreement
was only the beginning. If we were to build fundamentally different
relations, there was plenty more to do. And of course, he was
The record of the past eight years shows how far we have come.
We have had troops in the field together to help stabilise the
Russia is supporting our operations in Afghanistan, and together
we are fighting the flow of narcotics into our countries.
We cooperate to fight terrorism, including by exchanging threat
assessments, and we are working on doing more, for example defending
against road-side bombs.
NATO and Russia have ships sailing off the Horn of Africa, fighting
piracy alongside each other.
We are working together on improving protection against missile
attack for our troops in the field.
And we consult together, as equals, on a regular basis in Brussels.
It’s a lot. And it matters. This bridge across Europe,
between NATO and Russia, makes Europe more stable and more secure.
Yes, we disagree every once in a while, and fundamentally on
some issues, such as over Georgia. But we have learned not to
let that overshadow the importance and the potential of this
relationship, to make us all safer.
To my mind, the time has come to look to the next steps. We
now need more than a bridge. We need a safe and solid home, in
which all European countries can feel welcome – and from
which, together, we can make our neighbourhood safer as well.
There are three tracks, in particular, where I believe we should
look to make progress within Europe – progress in each
of which can stimulate progress in the others.
Let me start with missile defence. And I think we need to begin
by clarifying the reality in which we are working.
First: there is a growing missile threat to Europe. All of Europe.
That’s the consensus view of all 28 Allies, and I suspect
other European countries share that view. More than 30 countries
have or are developing missiles. And one of those is Iran, which
already has missiles that can hit NATO territory and Russia too,
which is expanding their range, and which is in violation of
its international obligations with regards to its nuclear program
The second fact is this: missile defence is coming to Europe.
The United States new so-called Phased Adaptive Approach, based
on proven technology, is on its way. Right now, it is founded
on bilateral cooperation between the United States and some individual
countries. The question is, should European missile defence be
done in a NATO context – and, flowing from that, how can
we cooperate with other European countries as well?
And my position is clear. I think we need missile defence for
all European citizens. I believe we should do it through NATO,
which – by the way - is the only way to get full coverage.
I think we should agree that at the upcoming NATO Summit in Lisbon,
in about nine weeks. And I am convinced that we must also invite
Russia to cooperate, linking a system of ours with capabilities
The reality is, this will go one of only two ways. If we build
missile defences in Europe outside of a NATO framework, it will
create new dividing lines, between who is in and who is out.
Even between Allies. And unless we make a clear offer to Russia
we would risk that Russia, rightly or wrongly, would be kept
outside the tent, and, as a result, unsure of how this might
affect her security.
The other way is to make missile defence a unifier, not a divider.
Territorial missile defence can become a security roof under
which all Allies find shelter, not just some. And I am convinced
that this roof can be wide enough to include other European countries
as well, including Russia.
Of course, the technical aspects need to be worked out, and
there are very smart people whose job it is to do that. My job,
and the job of my fellow politicians, is to map out the best
way forward. To lay out the vision. And to have the political
courage to move forward.
Missile defence is important for another reason as well. Progress
in missile defence can create a better climate for progress in
other areas critical to European security, including when it
comes to conventional weapons.
And conventional arms control is the second track where we should
make progress. One of the true unsung heroes of the post-Cold
War period is something called the Conventional Forces in Europe
Treaty. It set limits on how much of these things - tanks, armoured
vehicles, and fighters’ airplanes, for example – how
much of these things each country can hold. It puts limits on
how much of them each country can move around, and to where they
can move it. And it puts in place a robust system of inspections.
But I have to say: that treaty is now on life support. Russia
has suspended its participation, for a variety of reasons which
I won’t go into here. For now, all the NATO Allies are
abiding by its provisions.
I also have to say that this situation cannot continue. It will
become politically difficult – and then impossible – for
Allies to continue to comply with the requirements of the Treaty
if Russia doesn’t. And if we get to that situation, it
will introduce real instability into Europe – something
we do not need or want.
We have an opportunity, now, to fix this problem before it gets
worse. The United States is leading an effort to re-energise
the Treaty. All the Allies have now agreed a NATO framework of
principles for a new negotiation with all the CFE countries,
including of course Russia.
The principles are clear: reciprocal transparency regarding
conventional forces – holdings, movements, basing, exercises,
training etc.; reciprocal limitations, restraint and verification
of these forces; and last, but not least, host nation consent
for the stationing of foreign forces.
Based on this, there are now talks in the framework of the OSCE.
And I strongly encourage all parties to agree to this framework.
Our aim is to strengthen security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic
And if we manage to create an inclusive missile defence system,
it can reinforce a virtuous circle. If Russia and other countries
feel like they are inside the tent with the rest of us, rather
than outside the tent looking in, it will build trust. And trust
builds trust. Progress builds progress. And progress on conventional
arms control can create progress in other areas as well.
Which brings me to the third track where we must make progress,
sooner or later: reducing the number of short-range nuclear weapons
Forty years ago, almost all countries in the world subscribed
to the vision of complete nuclear disarmament. They did so in
the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. So, I think most people
share the goal laid out by President Obama of a world without
And we have made real progress over the past years in de-nuclearising
the European continent. In fact NATO has cut the number of its
short range nuclear weapons in Europe by over 90%.
However, we must realise that nuclear weapons exist. And some
countries may still have the ambition to acquire a nuclear weapon
And if we are to protect our populations effectively, we will
still need a credible nuclear deterrence capacity as long as
there are nuclear weapons in the world. So, as long as nuclear
weapons exist, NATO will remain a nuclear Alliance – but
of course, we want to maintain our conventional and nuclear weapons
at the minimum possible level.
The problem is that there are literally thousands of these short-range
nuclear weapons left over from the Cold War – most, in
fact, in Russia. And this is the one category of weapons not
covered by any arms control regime, and therefore with no transparency.
And this makes Allies cautious. They would like to see arms control
talks, at a certain stage, which include those weapons as well.
And here too, I think there is a virtuous circle to be had.
Controls on conventional weapons make it easier to contemplate
diminishing reliance on nukes. Trust builds trust.
There is more that can be done to build confidence between NATO
nations and Russia. We could invite each other consistently to
We could discuss our strategic and military doctrines in the
developmental phase, not just after publication – which
is just what NATO has done in developing our new Strategic Concept.
And we need to accelerate the work underway on assessing and
agreeing the common threats we all face, which can help us move
forward on missile defence.
But overall, when it comes to internal European security, I
think we have before us three tracks, which, if we follow them,
will lead to a different, better and safer Europe: where we don’t
look over our shoulders for someone else’s tanks or fighters;
where missile defences bind us together, and protect us too;
and where steadily, the number of short-range nuclear weapons
on the continent is going down. All of which will be based on
trust. And which would build more trust as well.
Why am I so devoted to making progress inside Europe? The answer
is simple: because the real threats we face come from outside.
Terrorism; extremism; narcotics; proliferation of missiles and
weapons of mass destruction, and piracy, to name a few.
It is time we stop spending our time and resources watching
each other, and instead look together, outward, at how to reinforce
our common security home.
Now, I can imagine a few of you thinking: nice image, but a
little bit rosy. What about the areas where NATO countries and
Russia disagree? For example, what about Georgia?
And I fully share those concerns. There will certainly be issues
on which we simply can’t agree. The massive numbers of
Russian forces in Georgia, against the will of the Government,
is one of those. So is the recent Russian decision to move missiles
into Georgia, which we believe to be a dangerous move that is
clearly in violation of the ceasefire agreement between Presidents
Medvedev and Sarkozy. The recognition by Russia of the so-called
independence of the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South
Ossetia is also unacceptable to NATO Allies. So as you can see,
over Georgia – and by the way, also over the continued
presence of Russian military assets in Moldova – we cannot
see eye to eye.
But we cannot let this paralyze everything. It is counterproductive
for everyone. We must and will continue to stand on the point
of principle of host-nation consent – which, as I mentioned,
is part of the CFE package. Here too, there is potential for
If conventional arms control in Europe is to move forward, it
can only do so if host-nation consent is respected. That’s
fundamental. And it applies to Georgia as much as to any other
country. There is no way around it. Which is why I think that
the shared desire to see progress on CFE can help energise efforts
to unfreeze the deadlock over Georgia, in a way that fully respects
host-nation consent and Georgia’s territorial integrity
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We have the opportunity to move forward on three tracks in the
coming months and years, to make our European home safer. No
track will be without twists, turns or speed bumps. But progress
will mean a more secure continent for our children, and that’s
worth the effort. It would be the dividend of the NATO-Russia
Founding Act, and the Rome declaration, signed here not so many
To close, I’m going now to break my first rule of giving
speeches, which is: not to quote myself. But being back in Rome,
the city where the NATO-Russia Council was established, I’ll
make an exception. When signing the Rome declaration in 2002,
I said: “success generates success”. It did. It is
doing so. And it still can.
view original source
© Copyright 2011 - ISRIA -
all rights reserved - Established 2004