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NATO Secretary-General Says Old Security Concepts No Longer Apply

03 November 2005

Alliance must project and promote stability, de Hoop Scheffer says

Washington -- NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told an audience of future diplomats that the security challenges the world faces today are sweeping, and the old security concepts no longer apply.

He told students at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna, Austria, November 3 that "one thing is clear: to safeguard our security today, we have to engage.  And that means that we have to project and promote stability."

De Hoop Scheffer said the next major challenge facing the 26-nation alliance is to build more structured relationships with other international organizations.

"Simply put, in a world that is characterized by globalization, we not only have to adjust our thinking on economics, technology, energy, or culture.  We also need to adjust our thinking on security," he said.

"Because security threats, too, have globalized."

NATO is about to open a new relationship with the United Nations, he said, and cooperation with the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) in Europe and the European Union (EU) is progressing.  De Hoop Scheffer met with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in New York in October to discuss how to enhance relations between NATO and the U.N.

"Above all, we need to build a true strategic partnership with the European Union.  We need to aim for a relationship that allows NATO and the EU to discuss and coordinate their approaches not only with respect to the Balkans, but across the full spectrum of today's security challenges," he said.

De Hoop Scheffer met earlier in the day with the OSCE Council in Vienna, and said that a more effective OSCE is in itself a major gain for the security and long-term stability of Europe.  It will also be a stronger partner for the Atlantic alliance in tackling future security challenges in Europe and beyond the region, he added.

"NATO has moved from a rather static approach to security that was suitable in the past to a much more active and functional approach," he said.  "This includes a preparedness to take action well away from our traditional area of operations."

De Hoop Scheffer said that NATO has broadened its cooperation and engagement with countries from North Africa and the Middle East, and by building new ties with countries from the Gulf region.

In July, NATO provided airlift support to African Union troops to the Sudanese crisis region of Darfur.  In October, de Hoop Scheffer helped to inaugurate the Ar Rustamiyah training center near Baghdad, where NATO trains Iraqi security forces.

He also met officials in Egypt in October as part of NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue process, to discuss ways to enhance further relations with the region.

"We are reaching out to other important players, such as Australia, New Zealand and Japan," he said.

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:

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