JAMES APPATHURAI (NATO Spokesman): Welcome to the inaugural press conference in the new and improved Luns Press Theatre. The Secretary General will make an opening statement, then we'll have time for quite a few questions.
JAAP DE HOOP SCHEFFER (Secretary General of NATO): Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome.
The Riga Summit . The venue Riga , of course, I would say, carries some important symbolism. We are very, much looking forward to go to Riga to meet the Latvians, to meet President Freiberga as the host of this NATO summit.
NATO summits, I think, are never routine. They have, of course, a certain schedule, but unlike in the European Union, where you have a very strong routine in having summits. I think NATO summits are never routine. And that means that the Heads of State and Government coming to Riga will take the opportunity, I think, first of all, for a serious transatlantic discussion on the key security issues that people on both sides of the Atlantic are grappling with.
And to my joy, I see already many articles in newspaper, think tank contributions, on the content of the summit.
Let me briefly take you by the hand and go through what I see as the important themes.
First of all, it goes without saying, if you look at NATO from an external point of view, it is of course the operations and missions of NATO which attract the attention of everybody. And priority number one is certainly Afghanistan , where, as you know, 30,000-plus in NATO ISAF force sunder UN mandate are operating.
I hear too many times Afghanistan in combination with negative signals, with negative signs. Let me tell you that if we look where Afghanistan was in 2001 and where the nation is now, when I look at the democratic development, the Parliament, where you have 25 percent women of the grand total in the National Assembly; if I tell you that 80 percent of the population has now accession to health care, ten times up since 2001; if I tell you that six million children go to school in Afghanistan, a quarter of them girls, over six time the number in 2001; that enrolment in higher education is ten times up, over 40,000 now; that the economy has tripled in the past five years--I'm not shying away from the narcotics problem, by the way, the informal economy--and that per capita income has doubled; that over four million refugees have gone back to Afghanistan. Why should they have come back if the signals were only negative. Four million of them have come back.
So that is good news. Is it all good news, and does that mean that there's nothing more to do? Of course not. Of course not. The Afghan government needs to make greater efforts to tackle corruption and to improve governance. The international community, all the important players in the international community, should do their utmost to keep Afghanistan very much on their radar screen.
NATO is not in the development business. NATO is not a humanitarian agency. NATO is not a non-governmental agency. In other words, it is important that when 32,000 forces in NATO ISAF are providing the conditions, tough as it is, in many instances, for security and stability, it is others who have to follow up.
Should NATO itself do more? Yes, definitely. Definitely. We should, I think, do more in the framework of training and equipping the Afghan National Army. That is part of an exit strategy. As I'm very pleased to note that the European Union has decided to send a mission to Afghanistan to see what could be done by the European Union in the framework of training the Afghan National Police.
It is clear, as we discuss Afghanistan , as I said, that it is NATO's priority number one, but do not forget that as we speak, and as the Heads of State and Government come to Riga , we have 55,000 NATO Forces in missions on three different continents altogether.
I'm quite sure there will be a discussion about Kosovo as well. You know that President Ahtisaari has postponed presenting his ideas till after the elections in Serbia . And let me also mention the other NATO missions, like Active Endeavour in the Mediterranean , the NATO training mission in Iraq ; not to forget Darfur , where we go on in training the African Union on their request.
It is labelled, this summit, as a transformational summit, or a transformation summit. What is transformation? It is NATO adapting, NATO changing, adapting to the present environment in which the Alliance is operating. I expect that Heads of State and Government will pay a lot of attention to this. What should be done for NATO to be able to perform its vital tasks? What should be done? What will the Heads of State and Government discuss?
First of all, they will endorse the so-called Comprehensive Political Guidance. That is a document which provides a sort of picture of NATO today. It does not replace NATO Strategic Concept, but it is a document on where NATO is today and how the allies see NATO in the year 2006 and beyond. And that document, I expect, will be published in Riga .
It analyzes the threats, it gives directions for our defence systems and the armed forces.
So it's an important document. A sort of umbrella for our activities. But on the military side we need to have the forces at present to do the job. I mention an initiative, I think now by 15 nations, NATO allies and one partner nation, Sweden , to pool resources to have a modest fleet of C-17 transport aircraft. You'll see an initiative for our special forces to work in a more effective and coordinated way.
I expect the signing of a document concerning the so-called Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence System, moving it into the implementation phase. Theatre Missile Defence that is protecting NATO's forces. So we go from theory to practice here.
If I talk about missile defence more in general, which I hope you'll see reflected in the communiqué as well, there, as you know, we're in the stage of a feasibility study, and I think and I hope that the Heads of State and Government will debate future steps. We had detailed briefings last week in the NATO-Russia Council, by the way, and in the North Atlantic Council by two United States officials.
You'll see NATO in its anti-terrorism role in the many anti-terrorist projects, from defending helicopters against shoulder-launched missiles to detection lasers, the Spanish detection laser, I can say, to better protect us against Improvised Explosive Devices, and you know how important that protection is.
You'll see on the financing of NATO's operations and missions, I hope, some guidance on the discussion about the balance between the principle "the costs lie where they fall" and common funding, and that then in the framework of the NATO Response Force.
Talking about the NRF, the NATO Response Force, I sincerely hope that Riga will see us declare full operational capability for the NATO Response Force, although I must tell you also that as we speak we are almost there, but we are not entirely there yet.
Then on the political side, political transformation. NATO's not a lone ranger, so we should work shoulder to shoulder with other international organizations. You've heard me say this publicly before.
We also have, as a very important subject, not only relying on strong operational support by NATO's many partner nations, be it in the framework of the Partnership for Peace, be it in the framework of the Mediterranean Dialogue or the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, the ICI, or outside, it is important that we have as strong relations as possible with our present partners, and also, as you know, I think, Riga should move the goal posts on cooperations, on our cooperation with countries like Australia, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, countries who share our values, countries who participate, from time-to-time, in our operations and missions.
Australia is teaming up with the Dutch in Oruzgan, in South Afghanistan . New Zealand has a Provincial Reconstruction Team. Japan is one of the most important donor nations in Afghanistan . South Korea is very active.
In other words, without building all kinds of new structures, because that's not what we're going to do, we're going to see how in a flexible format we can increase our contacts, increase our dialogue with the nations I just mentioned, with the nations concerned. And they also have shown a clear interest. How can we, if we look at the means we have in the Partnership for Peace, in our partnership structure, how can we open that box and see if those nations could also, of course, if they so wish, make use of the tool box we have, that we have in front of us.
And it goes without saying that outreach goes together with the strengthening of the present partnerships we have, important as they are in NATO.
Let me certainly not forget to underline the importance of our relationship with the Russian Federation . Next year we'll have the anniversary of ten years Founding Act, NATO-Russia and five years NATO-Russia Council. I should mention the relationship with the Russian Federation as well.
Coming back briefly to the Middle East . You will see the NATO allies launching a training initiative in its first stage within the NATO Defence College in Rome , and hopefully, and possibly, at a later stage into (inaudible), but not yet, in collaboration with our friends in the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative.
Finally, on the political side, you'll see a reaffirmation of the open door policy. You know this is not an enlargement summit in Riga, but there'll certainly be what I call, and go on to call, an encouraging signal to those nations in the Western Balkans who are in the Membership Action Plan. There will certainly be a reconfirmation of the Intensified Dialogue that NATO has already for quite some time with Ukraine, and more recently with Georgia, and you'll see the nations, the allies, reconfirming that we should use this Intensified Dialogue to the full, that NATO is ready to support reforms in those Intensified Dialogue countries wherever we can, that we'll stimulate them to go on with their reforms. And that, it goes without saying, the NATO line is as I've said publicly many times before, that there is, of course, with the allies, the full respect if we discuss Georgia for the territorial integrity in Georgia, and we hope that a peaceful solution should be found, must be found for the frozen conflicts.
If I mention the Western Balkans I should also mention Serbia , Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro . Entirely, finally, we all know the criteria which are applicable for PfP membership. Allies are, as we speak discussing the Riga Communiqué. That has not finished yet, as usual, because that finishes usually at two minutes or one minute to 12:00 as you know.
So allies are, as we speak, reviewing this as well. I consider it important, as you know, that apart from the encouraging signal to the three MAP nations in the Western Balkans, NATO also embarks and we should do that where we can in peril for the European Union on what I call a comprehensive Balkan policy.
Two meetings of Heads of State and Government, finally. A working dinner, what we call a one-plus-one dinner so that's a dinner with the Heads of State and Government at the table, and just one note-taker behind, so that it's a rather confidential environment, the first evening. And the second morning a plenary session where we start by honouring 26 officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers who have participated in the many NATO operations and missions in which so many NATO soldiers have given their lives as well. And the plenary session will discussion... The dinner, I should say, will focus mainly on NATO's operations and mission. The plenary session will focus on the rest of the agenda, as I have indicated to you.
Excuse me for being a bit long, but I wanted to be as complete as possible. Thank you, James. I'm open to your questions.
APPATHURAI: We'll start right here. Paul. If you could identify yourselves, please, when you ask the question, thank you.
Q: Paul Ames from the Associated Press. Secretary General, you didn't mention the issue of caveats in your introductionary comments. How big of an issue do you think that will be at the Summit ? Do you expect any progress on that at the Summit and also on the question of the shortfalls in ISAF, which General Jones has mentioned again this week?
DE HOOP SCHEFFER: I think we are making progress on caveats. Let me mention an element, I think, which should be brought into the fold when we discuss caveats. That is the flooding in the western part of Afghanistan . There you see a situation on the non-military side where one could say that it should be possible that you move your forces at a certain stage to be able to assist in fighting the floods.
We are making progress on caveats. You know, as I've said publicly, I can repeat here for you today, I think that what the Riga Summit should underline is that in case of emergency every ally will come to the assistance of every other ally, and I think that is definitely achievable.
Let me add that I do understand, I do understand, in the individual discussions in nations and with parliaments, that parliaments send their forces to a certain operational theatre with caveats. I've been a member of parliament for 16 years in the Netherlands , and I know a bit about those discussions.
So if you give me the choice do you rather have caveats or no forces at all, the choice for me is easy. At the same time, I say, that lifting caveats is from time to time even more important than bringing in new forces, if you see what I mean. But I've given you my main line and my main argument that in extremis, as the military call this, I call it in civilian language, in case of emergency, every ally should come to the assistance of other allies.
Finally, let's not make the discussion on the caveats into a north-south issue, because it is not. It is about Afghanistan in total, be it north, south, west or east. And certainly not a north-south thing. And I think, on what I said, all allies should be able to find each other.
On the forces, the famous Combined Joint Statement of Requirements, as the military call this, I think that I can repeat that the Commander ISAF can do what he has to do on the basis of the present force levels. We're still not entirely there yet in filling this statement of requirement. So as we speak I'm doing my best and others are doing their best to make it happen. We are not there yet, but do not draw the conclusion that because we are not there yet, I think General Jones said that the CJSOR is about 85 percent filled, that we never have any NATO mission where the CJSOR is filled for the full 100 percent, as we never have been a NATO mission operation without any form of caveats.
But, as we speak we are still working. We are not entirely there yet. And that is not the ideal situation, let me be clear about that as well.
Q: (inaudible).Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung. General Secretary, as you are aware, on the question of caveats there's quite a lively debate in Germany just now. In the context of accusations which were obviously made during the conference in Ottawa where parliamentarians of NATO countries met, are you aware of any single incident where the ISAF commander asked, or wanted to ask, one of the regional commanders for some support? I think... I suppose we are talking about the Operation Medusa, and that this... that it was refused by the regional commanders and that as a result of that, as was said in Ottawa , 12 Canadian soldiers died.
DE HOOP SCHEFFER: No.
Q: Are you aware of this incident?
DE HOOP SCHEFFER: No. As far as I know, and I think to be quite honest, Operation Medusa was the fiercest combat in NATO's history, since 1949, that there were many, many allies involved, and many allies moved their forces.
Let me add, when I said, in answer to your colleague's question, that we should not make this into a north-south debate, I mentioned Germany . It is unfair and not justified, not justified, to focus a discussion on caveats on Germany . That is unfair. Because I happen to know that in extremis, in an emergency, also Germany will come to the assistance of others. In fact, as I walked down the stairs to come and talk to you I read in the wire stories that Chancellor Merkel agrees with me in this respect.
But I do not know of situations that we had unnecessary fatalities because of this. But you'll also agree, and everybody I think should agree with me, if I say that we should underline this general principle, and that for a commander in general terms, the less caveats he has, and the more he can move his forces, the better it is for him. That goes without saying. That's why I'm saying that lifting caveats is from time-to-time even more important than sending in extra forces.
But let's avoid the impression, please, and I follow the German press rather closely, to make the discussion of caveats into a German problem, because I do not think it is a German problem.
APPATHURAI: I think we had a follow-up back there.
Q: Bonjour, Journal L'Expression, Algerie...
DE HOOP SCHEFFER: Où êtes-vous? Où êtes-vous? Lჭ, merci beaucoup.
Q: Le Sommet de Riga intervient ჭ un moment où il y a un changement de majorité au congrès aux იtats-Unis. Pensez-vous que ce changement et quelques influences que ce soit au niveau du Sommet de Riga, est-ce qu'il y aurait pas un changement de stratégie mais un changement d'attitude de la part des იtats-Unis étant entendu qu'ils détiennent une majorité de décisions au sein de l'OTAN, est-ce qu'il y aurait un changement de leur attitude au niveau, particulièrement de l'Irak et de l'Afghanistan.
DE HOOP SCHEFFER: Alors, si vous évoquer l'Irak, c'est pas le sujet correct, je crois, parce que l'OTAN, bien sûr, ჭ sa mission de formation en Irak, mais l'OTAN ne joue pas un rôle en Irak. Deuxième remarque, le président Bush, le "Commander in Chief is the Commander in Chief".
Alors, ma réponse ჭ votre question, c'est une réponse négative. Je crois pas que le changement de décor au congrès américain aura influence. Il est bien sûr que le président Bush va dire ce qu'il veut dire, n'est-ce pas?
APPATHURAI: We have one over here. (inaudible)...
Q: Sabine Rau, German Television ARD. Are there caveats which disable one or more allies to come to help to other allies in cases of emergency?
DE HOOP SCHEFFER: Well, it is possible, in theory, that you have emergencies under present rules where I would like to see more caveats lifted. But from the reactions I have, from the line I formulated a few days ago, I think that all Heads of State... I have not seen anybody who does not agree, will come in case of emergency.
That does not mean that I do not want to see the lifting of more caveats in this fear of what we call the quick reaction forces, being able to move quick reaction forces around the country more freely than this is now the case. That's my answer.
Q: (inaudible)... Belgrade . Secretary General, first question about Kosovo, do you think that you will need or not to raise the status of alert in Kosovo during electoral campaign in Serbia, and after when Mr. Ahtisaari present his proposal of final solution for status of Kosovo?
And the second question, which is linked with this first, yesterday Minister of Foreign Affairs Serbia Draskovic, told you that it will be very dangerous if Serbia will be out of Partnership for Peace in the time when Ahtisaari presents his solution for Kosovo and Serbia will not have a government because we have elections and there is a need for time for a building and construct new government. Thank you.
DE HOOP SCHEFFER: The answer to your first question is that KFOR is always on the alert. KFOR is on the alert as we speak. KFOR is there to protect majority and minority alike. KFOR is there to prevent anything from happening, either south or north of the Iber River , or in any part of Kosovo. So KFOR is on the alert, I can assure you. I can assure anybody who would like to spoil things there, I can assure minority and majority alike.
On your second question, indeed, I had a conversation with Minister Vuk Draskovic here in Brussels yesterday. I am not going to be his interpreter in what messages he brought to me. What I answered him is, in fact, what I told you a moment ago, that the allies, as we speak, are discussing the communiqué that A, Western Balkans policy is an important element in the communiqué, but that it is difficult to say for me what will be the end. I added, I added on my personal authority, that Vuk Draskovic, but the Serbian government more in general, knows what are the conditions for Serbia entering PfP. And those conditions, of course, have not changed.
I told him, as well, I can add, that I would very much like to see many more stronger signals coming out of Belgrade on the arrest of Mladic. I do not hear leading Serb politicians saying, on the record, I am of the opinion that Radko Mladic should be arrested and should be transported to the tribunal in The Hague . I don't hear that.
APPATHURAI: I think we'll stay in the Balkans here and then there, please.
Q: Yeah, as a follow-up, (inaudible)... Kosovo Television. What kind of explanation you can give to Montenegro why they cannot be accepted in PfP, other than they have to wait for Serbia and Bosnia ? And we're talking about country that doesn't have a problem with The Hague tribunal, which is official line of ICTY.
And another digression: In past two times that you talk about Serbia you don't connect anymore directly the arrest of Mladic with PfP. Does it mean that the principles of NATO are softened a little bit concerning this issue?
DE HOOP SCHEFFER: What did I do in the last part of my answer to your colleague? I think I can say it more directly. I think that conditionality has not changed. It's there. And on the first part of your question, my answer would be, don't jump the gun.
Q: Augustin Palokaj, Koha Ditore.
DE HOOP SCHEFFER: Yes.
Q: And Jutarnji list from Croatia .
DE HOOP SCHEFFER: As well.
Q: Okay, about enlargement, if you just repeat that NATO will remain open door policy it will not be strong enough and encouraging signal, so are you discussing to mention the date for the issuing of invitations to those M-A-P, MAP countries? President Bush said recently that 2008 is the right... the date for Croatia to join NATO and we are at the end of 2006 already. So whether... do the other allies agree with the President Bush on this issue?
And on Kosovo, are you going to discuss just the operation in Kosovo, or since NATO is political alliance, also the final status of Kosovo?
DE HOOP SCHEFFER: On your first question, my remarks about an encouraging signal is to protect myself against the fact that literally, as we speak, the Senior Political Committee is meeting on what I call the enlargement signal. I call it encouraging because I think it should be encouraging, it should be positive.
You know, that allies are discussing it and I can't jump the gun on the communiqué what exactly the signal will be. But 26 allies, preparing a communiqué, might have to use all the time they have to come to a good communiqué and a good communiqué, in my view, should consist of an encouraging signal. But that's the umbrella text. What it then exactly will be, because you know there's no formal decision, by the way, on the next summit. It's most probably that the allies will meet in the spring of 2008. And I would not exclude that NATO's open door would be discussed in any way at that summit in 2008.
But to what extent and under what specific formula the allies, the Heads of State and Government will leave the conference room in Riga --as we speak, I must admit that I don't know. I don't know. And if I would know I wouldn't tell you now, but I don't know.
On Kosovo, what is important on Kosovo is that whatever political developments we'll see at the moment that Ahtisaari presents his proposals and in the aftermath, it is crystal clear that, of course, the European Union will have a heavy responsibility, but that NATO KFOR, as far as security and stability is concerned, will play an important role for some time to come in Kosovo.
Now, what is important, I think, is that here we have an important element in the EU-NATO relationship, that EU and NATO should, as far as we can together, discuss it, so I think that political element you might find in the discussion, apart from the more military aspects of the operation. But that is the background of what I said about Kosovo.
Q: Brooks Tigner, Defense News. Just a quick question about CPG. You said this is not a strategic document, or a revision of strategic doctrine, fair enough. It analyzes threats and it looks at defence planning. Well, NATO already analyzed threats five years ago, WMD and terrorism. NATO does constant defence planning. So aside from any wording or references to the need for a more expeditionary spirit, I don't see the purpose of this document. Could you please tell us what its purpose is and what's new about it?
DE HOOP SCHEFFER: Oh, I can exactly tell you because there's a big difference on allies discussing things and 26 nations agreeing on what should be written down on seven or eight pieces of paper. It's a major difference in multilateral diplomacy, I can tell you.
It's something, number one, to discuss the future of defence planning here, or NATO's expeditionary character, it's number two and much more important to write it down on a piece of paper. I consider that a major difference. That's why I consider this Comprehensive Political Guidance an important document, because A, it's comprehensive, B, it's political, and C, it provides guidance.
Q: Oui, Alexandrine Bouilhet, Le Figaro. Deux questions, une sur la sécurité énergétique: vous voulez que ce soit mentionné dans le communiqué final, et sous quelle forme? Et par ailleurs, sur le rôle de l'OTAN dans la lutte antiterroriste: vous voulez aller jusqu'où, et est-ce que vous considérez que l'ISAF, en Afghanistan, fait de la lutte antiterroriste ou pas?
DE HOOP SCHEFFER: Sur la première partie de votre question, je crois que la sécurité énergétique est un sujet, comme je l'ai dit plusieurs fois, relevant pour l'OTAN. Pourquoi? Parce que, si vous préférez une réponse formelle, c'est dans le concept stratégique de l'OTAN, "the free flow of energy".
Deuxièmement, si on discute au sein de l'OTAN, la sécurité énergétique, ჭ mon avis, c'est un processus de définir la valeur ajoutée que l'OTAN pourrait organiser dans ce domaine. Parce que l'OTAN n'est pas ჭ l'Union européenne, n'est pas l'agence énergétique, et j'espère que le communiqué de Riga - vous verrez un passage dans lequel le chef d'état et de gouvernement demande au Conseil en session permanente de discuter sur cette valeur ajoutée de l'OTAN, pas moins mais aussi certainement pas plus.
Et votre deuxième question. Alors, l'opération de l'OTAN en Afghanistan, bien sûr, a un élément antiterroriste dans le sens que si on a pas de succès en Afghanistan, l'Afghanistan redevient un exportateur de terrorisme, exactement comme le pays étant sous les Talibans. Alors, dans ce sens, c'est une contribution importante de la part de l'OTAN dans la lutte contre le terrorisme.
Deuxièmement, si vous me demandez sur le rôle de l'OTAN, j'ai mentionné brièvement dans mes mots d'introduction, le programme de l'OTAN contre le terrorisme, ce sont en effet dix programmes. Je vous ai donné un exemple, je crois, la protection d'hélicoptères contre les " rocket propelled grenades, shoulder-fired missiles".
Je pourrais ajouter protection des ports contre le terrorisme, protection des grands avions civils, etcetera, "Improvised Explosive Devices", cette sorte de choses, c'est le "Defence Against Terrorism Programme of Work, DAT POW, but forget the jargon...
Et ça, je considère un rôle de l'OTAN important aussi. Je pourrais ajouter certainement l'opération Active Endeavour en Mer Méditerranée, formellement une mission antiterroriste fondée sur l'article 5, après le 11 septembre, n'est-ce pas?
Alors, je crois que dans le domaine de l'OTAN, on joue un rôle important dans la lutte contre le terrorisme.
APPATHURAI: The next question's here.
Q: (inaudible)... from People's Daily China. You have just mentioned that the cooperation with NATO and Japan and some other Asia Pacific countries, you mentioned the flexible format. What is the real meaning of that? And how about their position? They will get a global partner or (inaudible) as a contact country or something else?
Secondly, how do you see the real significance of this summit, because there's a lot of discussion about what kind of achievements could summit have after the meeting? Thank you.
DE HOOP SCHEFFER: Thank you. On the first part let me repeat that the allies are not after new structures. But that the allies are after flexible formats. Let me give you an example. It can be the format of 26-plus-1 as we call it. Suppose you have a subject one wants to discuss with Australia ; 26-plus-1, the allies plus Australia . You can have what we call 26-plus-N and the N then stands for a group of nations who have a joint interest to discuss things with NATO.
Twenty-six-plus-N can also mean, as we're already doing in the framework of Afghanistan , that you have a meeting with the NATO allies and those nations who are troop contributors to ISAF in Afghanistan , you can add around the table important donor countries, who do not have forces in Afghanistan , like Japan . I mean, Australia is in, Japan is not. But Japan is an important donor. If you agree with me that the answer in Afghanistan is not a military one, but that the answer in Afghanistan is reconstruction, development, and that the military only create the conditions for that civilian answer to be given, I can understand that you can have different and flexible formats. That is what we're after.
We call those relevant nations contact countries. Well, what's in a name. Nothing less, nothing more than contact countries, be they are not in any formal partnership with NATO. They're not in EAPC, PfP, they're not Russia , they're not Ukraine . You see what I mean?
So, I mean, we used to call them triple-nons, which is a very pejorative and absurd name, I think, because they were not a member of other international organizations and structures. And then the Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer came to me and said, Secretary General, please, could you find a different name, we are not a triple-non, we Australians. And I think he voiced the concern of many of his colleagues, so I said, Alexander, we'll find another name, contact countries.
All jokes apart, it is important, and those nations themselves, I mean, it's not NATO imposing itself. Let me repeat once again, NATO is not seeking a role of a global policeman. We don't have the ambition, we don't have the money, we don't have the forces. But if you agree with me, and I think in my contacts with, for instance, the Chinese ambassador here in Brussels , I know that China is also of the opinion that a number of threats and challenges we face as we speak are global. NATO needs also partners, global partners, who are geographically rather far away. I mean, we're talking about the antipodes here, if we discuss Australia .
But still Australian forces are fighting side-by-side with Dutch forces in Uruzgan for the same course. So do see it as a pragmatic way of finding a formula, of bringing those nations who are very relevant, either because they participate militarily or that they're interested politically, or that they are major donors in the theatre when NATO is very much involved in Afghanistan , that we bring them into the fold. But we can do that in many different formats.
So do not, please, interpret this as NATO building a very heavy structure. That is not the case. And that is not what those nations want.
In the position Japan , South Korea , Australia , and New Zealand are taking, they also want to see a pragmatic approach, and that's what it is. I add that the tool box NATO has built up over the years in the framework of the Partnership for Peace, might be, might provide elements of which they share that interest in. That's interesting. Be it in civil emergency planning, be it in interoperability, be it in defence against terrorism. I mean, that tool box is a very big one from which they can make a choice, we can make a choice.
APPATHURAI: Last questions.
Q: (inaudible)... NTV Russia . Speaking about plus-N, we got used during previous summits for much wider program, and this one looks rather short and modest. What does it mean? It's the lack of subjects to discuss anywhere the circle, or it's just a lack of accommodation, Riga ?
DE HOOP SCHEFFER: It's none of the two, I'm afraid, because there is splendid accommodation in Riga . No, it is, by the way, since you're representing the Russian media, Russia is never N, as you know. Let's not be confused. Russia can, by definition, can never been N because NATO-Russia is 27 and not 26-plus-1, as you know. More than just a difference in language, there's a big political difference behind this.
No, the allies wanted a summit where they, 26 NATO allies, could discuss what they consider a number of important elements, and I've given them to you, between themselves. And that by definition means that you do not have a summit with a NATO-Russia Council, with a NATO-Ukraine, EAPC. I expect that a next summit, whenever that's going to take place, but possibly in the spring of 2008, will be a summit where you have these elements.
But NATO allies simply made the choice we want to have a summit where it is us, 26 NATO allies, coming together in Riga . So it's unrelated to the agenda. If you're 26 and you don't have other meetings you have enough in spending a full dinner together and having a full plenary session in the morning, and doing that in very nice accommodation, what do they want more. But there's nothing behind this in the political sense.
APPATHURAI: Time for a maximum two more here and there.
Q: Shada Islam from the German News Agency DPA. To come back to Afghanistan , Secretary General, you said NATO is not a development agency, but Afghanistan has received billions of euros and dollars over the last few years. Are you saying that the money has not going into the sectors where they should go, or are you concerned about the pace of delivery of aid.
And if I could ask you on China , you said China is also of the opinion that NATO needs global partners. Have they applied and would they... if they were to apply what would your response be?
DE HOOP SCHEFFER: Then I have been not specific enough. The only thing I said about China is that I know from my contacts with the Chinese ambassador, and you know that the Assistant Secretary General has also visited Beijing , I know that Chinese authorities agree with me that many of the threats and challenges we are facing are global. They are the same for China as they are for NATO allies. But that is totally unrelated to the discussion we had on contact countries.
On your first point, of course I know, and Germany is a case in point, and a positive one as well, that NATO in the Provincial Reconstruction Teams is very much in the business of the interface between the civilian and the military. And I think that's a good development. When I say NATO is not a development cooperation agency or not a development agency, it is because NATO's first responsibility is not in the development business. Like NATO's first responsibility is not in the humanitarian business. But if there are floods in Afghanistan and you have your forces you help. If there's an earthquake in Pakistan you send your NATO Response Force, or elements of it, to Pakistan .
On the development scenario more in general, forgive me, I'm not an expert on this, at least not in my present incarnation. In previous incarnations I have been dealing with the development cooperation as well. I think that a lot has been done. I've given you a number of examples. I also realize that when you agree with me that the answer in Afghanistan is not a military one, but it is development, it is rule of law, strong state institutions, you know what I'm talking about, that's of course a matter of a generation, or even more.
Do realize where Afghanistan came from. But also do realize, I say, what enormous reconstruction activity has been going on. By Germany and where you are, but also in the south. I've now been in the south for a number of times, and I always read in the south it's tough... yes, it is tough from time-to-time, and even from time-to-time there's combat, but if you look at the south and you look at what has gone on and is going on in reconstruction in the south it's quite remarkable. Let's not forget that.
But international coordination is, as you know, one of the key elements I underline when I talk about Afghanistan and that's why I'm so happy that this European Union mission is going, and that we had a meeting here not that long ago, where not only the European Union, but also the World Bank was represented.
So don't read a negative undertone, but do read in my pleas, that beginning with the Afghan government, the international community, including NATO, should have Afghanistan very much on the radar screen.
And I always tell, during my visits, the NATO's Heads of State and Government, I know you're going to support me when you visit a NATO meeting. Also give me, please, your support when you wear your EU hat. And I was very glad that Foreign Minister of the EU did discuss Afghanistan Monday a week ago in their General Affairs Council.
Q: Yes, Robert (inaudible)... of the Italian Press Agency. I have two questions. First of all, in the recent past there has been some veiled criticism concerning the Italian work on the side of the reform of the justice system and I would like to know what is your opinion on this subject.
And secondly, since you just mentioned the fact that you were happy that the Foreign Ministers have spoken last week about the point that you have raised. I would like to know what is your... are you satisfied with how things went at European Union on this concern?
DE HOOP SCHEFFER: Yes, I am satisfied because the General Affairs Council, the Foreign Ministers had a political discussion on Afghanistan . I've spoken to quite a few of them since. And I think that's a big plus because the EU is playing an important role. Let's not forget that the Commission is financing a lot in Afghanistan already, but the EU, of course, is more than the Commission, and that's why I'm happy with the ESPD mission which is now going to focus on what more can be done in the framework of police training.
On your first question I'm not aware of any criticism by the way, but this is Italy in its role as lead nation in the framework of the G8 and that is not directly related, I must admit, to what NATO is doing in Afghanistan, butas far as I'm aware, I have not heard any criticism and certainly that criticism, if it's there, has not come from NATO.
APPATHURAI: Last question is here.
Q: Ingrid Klintborn from the Spanish News Agency EFE. I'd like you to explain what you mean when you say that the caveats are not a north-south discussion. And also, you said it was not a German question. Could it be possibly a Spanish question, because Spain has special reaction, quick reaction forces there which they are not willing to move around the country?
DE HOOP SCHEFFER: No, I said this, as I explained to your German colleague, because to my mind the whole discussion on caveats, which is an important one, in the press, international media, was too much focused on Germany . And I think that's unfair because A, Germany is doing a lot. It's also not a Spanish question. It is a question of the less caveats the better. The less caveats the better. So the more caveats that can be lifted the better it is.
But I said also, and I think I spoke about my personal background, that I know that in some allies parliaments have a very heavy say in sending forces abroad, and that they say to the government we agree, but... That is my point. It is not a Spanish, not a German, it is a general question. It is a NATO question. That's why I feel entitled to speak about this. The more caveats we can lift the better it is.
And I've also given you, and I think there everybody agrees, including Spain , including Germany , that the bottom line should be the emergency situation, that's in an emergency all forces should be able to move.