NATO needs to respond to new challenges

Posted in Europe , NATO | 10-Jul-04 | Author: Yannis-Alexis Zepos

Greek soldier on guard
Greek soldier on guard
During the recent years, great importance has been given to the issue of security, as a result of significant changes and developments in the international environment. In several occasions, this aspect has been put forward as a prerequisite for the formulation of a policy on resolving emerging problems and managing new threats.

Within this framework, one of the main tasks that we face nowadays, is the need for preservation of security and stability. In this respect, enhancement and consolidation of international cooperation seems imperative in order to avoid any further breeches, than the already existing ones, in the international community. This approach, however, should be based on the principles of the United Nations and International Law.

Greece has always attached great importance to security in close conjunction with its wider geographical periphery, but most of all through its participation in international organisations such as the United Nations, the European Union and NATO.

Especially, regarding NATO, the events in 2001 marked a new period. Since the 2002 Prague Summit, the Alliance has been transformed from a purely defence Alliance to a regional, politico-military organisation, ready to assume tasks in the fields of crisis management and to counter emerging threats, such as terrorism, in line with its traditional role in collective defence.

In this vein, and within this new scenery NATO needs to respond to new challenges based on a consolidated policy that will ensure the fulfillment of the responsibilities undertaken within the framework of the Washington Treaty and in full conformity with International Law.

As an Alliance we examine the possibility of expanding our cooperation beyond the core of the euroatlantic area towards the Caucasus, the Central Asia and the wider region of the Middle East. In this vein, there is a need for providing a coherent and consolidated policy towards this region, taking into account the specific needs of the countries of the above-mentioned regions. In this endeavour, we ought to be cautious and pragmatic.

Besides the remarkable progress made so far in the Balkans, the situation in the region remains delicate, with economic, political and social problems that urge for solutions. We should remain committed to the obligations undertaken in the region. This strategically important region of the Balkans must remain a priority for euroatlantic cooperation, based on good-neighbourly relations, respect for territorial integrity and human rights and the rule of law.

The basis for a bridgehead
The basis for a bridgehead
Existing partnerships should be renewed and our efforts should be focused on bringing closer partners that have a strategic role in the euroatlantic area and are willing to cooperate with the Alliance in various fields.

New initiatives and new schemes of cooperation can pave the way for a more intensified cooperation aiming at fostering existing partnerships of the Alliance, deepen them further and creating new perspectives and prospects.

The June Summit in Istanbul can lead down such a path, bearing in mind the need for pragmatic assessment of NATO’s engagement and presence in various areas and its involvement in different fields. This process should be followed by an evaluation of the real needs and capabilities that the Alliance is able to provide, and of course the setting of realistic goals that will be followed by a policy of clear steps.

Published in NATO’s Nations and Partners for Peace II/2004