Secretary General: ‘NATO and Australia are ideal partners’

"Partnerships are essential to NATO’s success"

From Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO:  From Gallipoli to Uruzgan, your men and women have been on the front line – fighting for freedom.  It is that enduring commitment that makes Australia a natural partner for NATO. We may be oceans apart, but we are close in security interests. The common challenges we face only serve to bring us closer together.

So from me personally, and on behalf of NATO, thank you for helping to make our world a better and safer place. . . .

Terrorism, cyber attacks, piracy.  These are just three examples of today’s global security challenges that we face, like you. Because geography and distance no longer protect us. No country or continent can be insulated against global challenges – or deal with them on their own.  

So NATO-Australian cooperation is not as strange as it might appear at first sight. In fact, it makes perfect sense. Because we are like-minded. And we are single-minded when it comes to security.
Like no other organisation, NATO brings together the United States, Canada, and twenty-six European countries. This vital bond is built on common values – freedom, democracy, and the rule of law. And is kept strong by our firm commitment to work together to preserve those values. . . .

In fact, from Afghanistan to Libya and Kosovo, partnerships are essential to NATO’s success. That is why we are determined to continue to build on that success with countries that are able and willing to contribute where we all have a stake.

Our unique network of partners includes over 40 nations and spans the globe – from East Asia to Western Europe, from North Africa to the South Pacific. When it comes to security, NATO is the world’s partner of choice. Because we can provide a tried and tested framework for our partners to play their role on the global stage.

We saw that at the NATO summit in Chicago last month, which brought together 60 nations and organisations focused on the future of Afghanistan. And it brought together NATO Allies with 13 of our most valued and active partners. Prime Minister Julia Gillard joined us at both those meetings in Chicago, in recognition of Australia’s significant contribution to our work.  . . .

One promising area for greater cooperation between Australia and NATO is the development of military capabilities.  We must also look to conduct more training, education, and exercises together.  I see particular scope for closer cooperation between our Special Forces. And I am convinced that our cooperation should also encompass maritime security and cyber security. . . .

NATO and Australia share the same commitment to freedom, democracy, and human rights.   And we share the courage to stand up for those values.

NATO is determined to strengthen its ties with partners right around the world.  To work ever closer together. And to find common solutions to common problems. 

United by a common vision and common values, NATO and Australia are ideal partners.  Because we are determined to do what is right.  And to take responsibility for our shared security.

Excerpts from "NATO and Australia – Partners in Security," speech by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Canberra.  (photo: ISAF)

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