NATO Head: Pakistan FATA Key to Afghan Security

Speaking before a full house at the 2009 Warsaw Transatlantic Forum, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer called for enhancing regional cooperation in Afghanistan in order to counter the Taliban insurgency. Noting the central role of Pakistan in the conflict, he urged for improving security and development in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

“For that, we need Pakistan because the same people who want to destabilize the FATA in Pakistan are the guys who are coming over the border and making life for Polish and Dutch and Canadians and Danes and Americans miserable in Afghanistan,” he said. “Let us build a relationship in the training of Pakistani officers – that is a Pakistani wish.  Like in Afghanistan, if you look at the FATA in Pakistan and other areas, people want to see their standard of living improve. If you ask the Afghan what is your main worry, he’ll not say Taliban. He’ll say: ‘I want my daughter or son to go to school; I want to have a market for my products… I want roads, could there be a power station?”

Recognizing the historic occasion of the 10th anniversiary of the entrance of Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary to NATO ten years ago, Scheffer noted that Europe was no longer divided and faced a new future. “The acceptance of these countries proves that mistakes have been corrected and that the enlargement creates a sphere of mutual European security.Poland the Czech Republic and Hungary integrated deeply into the Organization and their voices have been heard and heard the whole time,” stated the Secretary General.

Regarding NATO reinstating relations with Russia, following the freeze after Russia started the conflict with Georgia, Scheffer rejected a freezing of bilateral relations. “Despite talking about it, having no relations is not an option that we even took into account.”

Press Reports:

NATO must deepen engagement with Pakistan: Scheffer (Reuters)

NATO must deepen its engagement with Pakistan, ensure it has sufficient troops in Afghanistan and keep up a dialogue with Russia, NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said on Thursday. “Of course we need to look beyond Afghanistan… and especially Pakistan, with which we must deepen our engagement,” Scheffer told a conference in Budapest on the 10th anniversary of the accession of Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic to NATO.

 He also said NATO must ensure it has enough troops in Afghanistan as that country prepares for elections. “We must ensure that we have sufficient troops on the ground to enforce security both during and after the coming election period,” Scheffer said.

NATO Chief Touts Alliance Expansion ( VOA News)

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer says alliance expansion remains a necessity for the stabilization of Europe, and says NATO’s door will remain open for future members.

De Hoop Scheffer spoke Thursday in Budapest, at ceremonies marking the 10th anniversary of Polish, Hungarian and Czech accession into the defense alliance.

The NATO chief said current and future challenges include the stabilization of Afghanistan, European energy security, cyber-crime and piracy. He also said NATO needs to improve its relationship with Russia, which remains opposed to alliance expansion closer to its borders, and opposes a U.S. plan to build a missile defense system on Polish and Czech soil.

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer in Warsaw (Polski Radio)

Secretary General of NATO, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer is in Poland today to mark the 10th anniversary of the country’s accession to the alliance. He has already visited the Czech Republic and Hungary on that same occasion. A conference has also been held in Warsaw discussing the decade of Poland’s involvement in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

During the conference “NATO – challenges and tasks” in the morning, head of the alliance said the event was significant for the world, for Europe and for the new members themselves. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who also took part in the conference, emphasized that today NATO should be the defender of a civilization based on values such as freedom, free market and solidarity: ‘that’s why Poland is for widening the alliance, to include those nations and states, where the values which I mention are also alive, or at least are a wish of authorities and the people,’ he said. In reply, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said widening NATO so far has proven a success and the alliance is definitely not closing doors.

Ukraine, Georgia will join NATO, Secretary General Scheffer asserts (Kyiv Post)

Ukraine and Georgia will eventually become members of NATO, NATO Secretary General Jaap De Hoop Scheffer reiterated at a Warsaw conference Friday, commemorating Poland’s accession to NATO 10 years ago.  “That decision stands: Ukraine and Georgia will eventually be members of NATO […], but enlargement is a performance-based project, and the question of when depends on their performance,” Scheffer said.

NATO has set up Ukrainian and Georgian commissions, which will work together with the governments of those countries to bring about the necessary reforms for accession, Scheffer added.

2009 Warsaw Transatlantic Forum:

On March 12th and 13th, leading policy makers from Poland, the United States, and greater Europe converted in Warsaw for the launch of the Warsaw Transatlantic Forum. Recognizing 10 years of NATO membership for Poland as well as 20 years of democratic progress since the fall of the Iron Curtain, the Forum hosted major speakers including Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski, and NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

On March 12th, an Atlantic Youth Day brought together youth from across Poland for a dialogue with political leaders and experts about the importance of the Alliance, its mission in Afghanistan and future challenges. Young leaders in Kabul, Washington DC and Kyiv joined participants in Warsaw via a live videoconference link, broadening the discussion to countries of key importance to the Atlantic Community. During a special panel, participants recognized the crucial work of Bronislaw Geremek, who contributed so much to Poland’s successful transition to an Allied democracy.

On March 13th, the Polish Ministry of Defense sponsored a major conference, in cooperation with the Center for International Relations, the Atlantic Council, and the Community of Democracies that brought together top officials from both Poland and the Alliance, along with top think-tank analysts and opinion leaders from the region.

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Photo Credit: 
Antoni Łoskot