NATO Summit in Istanbul

Posted in NATO | 19-Jun-04 | Author: Dieter Farwick

Hagia Sofia - overlooking Asia and Europe.

At its summit meeting in Istanbul end of June, with a very ambitious agenda, NATO is facing an uphill struggle. The heads of state and government of 26 NATO member states -- plus Russia as member of the NATO-Russia-Council -- will have to cope with a wide range of short and long-term issues.

Just to mention a few: Afghanistan, Iraq, NATO Response Force, broader Middle East, Mediterranean Dialogue, the Balkans, counter-terrorism, counter-proliferation, NATO-Russia Council, transformation of NATO forces, Partnership for Peace, and NATO-EU relations.

There is no need for a crystal ball to foresee controversial discussions. The hardest nut to crack will be the question of NATO’s commitment in Iraq. One of two prerequisites has been achieved: UN resolution 1511. A request from the new Iraqi sovereign government might follow quite soon. How will NATO decide?

We are pleased to offer the views of three experts from both sides of the Atlantic in this newsletter:

  • In our exclusive interview, Günther Altenburg, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs, presents the official NATO view on the most pressing issues,

  • Leo Michel, National Defense University in Washington, presents his personal view on NATO-EU relations,

  • Konrad Freytag, Colonel (ret.), German Air Force, former “Press and Information Officer” at NATO HQ SHAPE, covers the whole spectrum of the agenda.

This preview should be seen as a yardstick to measure the achievements of the NATO summit. A lot is at stake for NATO. The crucial issue will be NATO’s position on Iraq. There is no alternative to success for the Western world in Iraq and in the “Broader Middle East”. This region needs stability and security -- not chaos and terrorism. NATO must provide political and military support. The future of NATO is at stake.