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Military

Press briefing by the NATO Spokesperson, Oana Lungescu

NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

15 Feb. 2012

Press briefing

by the NATO Spokesperson, Oana Lungescu

Hello, this is the second time I see some of you in the last half hour. So thank you for staying on. We have with us Ludwig Decamps who is the Director of Strategy and Smart Defence in the NATO's Defence Investment Division. And he will update us on NATO's future Alliance ground surveillance. As you know, the final details of this key programme were agreed earlier this month by NATO defence ministers. And Ludwig will be speaking on background as a NATO official.

Before, let me just go through with you some important information. For those of you who are planning to cover the Chicago Summit... I don't know how many of you are planning to cover the Chicago Summit. I see some trepidation over there, OK. Some information which I think will be useful for planning purposes. This is not for broadcast or reporting; but just for your planning.

First of all, you may know that there's going to be a single accreditation for the NATO Summit and the G8 Summit. So you only need one accreditation. So at least from that point of view, you don't have to do double the work.

The NATO Summit will take place in Chicago on Sunday the 20th of May and Monday the 21st. There won't be any final programme yet. So please don't ask me details; not for some time. We're working on it. The good news though is that the media will be invited to what's known as a ‘media walkabout’ of the facilities and the venue of the summit on the 9th of March. And that will take place from early morning to midday.

The US State Department will be issuing information on this, in the coming days, including on hotel bookings, should you need one. And for the ‘walkabout’, you will have to register with the US State Department.

Finally, for those covering the summit, you will require an I visa, which is a type of visa issued for journalists. And I'm happy to give you even more information. You just need to type travel.state.gov in your web browser, apparently with the www. So that's about Chicago. And most of what we've been doing here and what we continue to do is geared up towards Chicago.

Let me start with the agenda today; then look back a couple of days and then look forward. As we speak and as you know the North Atlantic Council is meeting with the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev who just held the press point in the last few minutes.

And you may have heard President Aliyev announcing that he will tell the NAC about Azerbaijan's intention to contribute to the Afghan National Army Trust Fund which the Secretary General warmly welcomed. The Secretary General said: "We appreciate this announcement. This is crucial because we need to make sure that the Afghan Security Forces take responsibility for their own country. They will also need money to do that."

Azerbaijan as you know is a troop contributor to ISAF; also gives NATO over-flight rights. And we're very grateful for this continued support. So I expect Azerbaijan will be discussing with the 28 NAC ambassadors the situation in Afghanistan. The Secretary General had a good bilateral meeting with President Aliyev in the last hour.

Azerbaijan is one the Alliance's longstanding partners in the EAPC, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and obviously will be taking part in the ISAF Summit in Chicago.

As you may know, NATO and Azerbaijan agreed in December a new Individual Partnership Action Plan or IPAP. And that will provide the basis for practical cooperation over the next two years.

On Monday, we had a meeting with the NATO Parliamentary Assembly; welcomed the President of the NPA, Dr. Karl A. Lamers and other members of the NPA for a Council session. There was quite a lively discussion on the priorities looking ahead to the Chicago Summit: obviously, Afghanistan, smart defence, missile defence and strengthening the transatlantic link.

The Secretary General who, of course, was a parliamentarian for many years himself appreciates this sort of exchanges and he accepted to take part in the NPA Annual Meeting in Prague in November.

On Tuesday, there was a seminar here at NATO Headquarters with the NATO ambassadors and the four partner countries of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative. That's Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE to discuss ways to deepen partnership ahead of the Chicago Summit in May.

There was a lot of appreciation expressed for the contribution of some of our partners in the region to Operation Unified Protector, also for their support for the ISAF Operation. You may have noticed that Bahrain became the fiftieth contributor to ISAF last December. And there was also a discussion on developing closer consultation mechanisms following the adoption of the new strategic concept and looking forward again to Chicago.

Finally, two other points. One as you may have noticed. We have since the beginning of the week a new Deputy Secretary General. And this is somebody who some of you may already know because it's Ambassador Alexander Vershbow of the United States.

He became DSG on Monday this week. Obviously, this post is the Alliance's second most senior international civil servant. Ambassador Vershbow succeeds Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero of Italy who held the post until February when he became Italian Ambassador to Washington. And Ambassador Vershbow previously served as US Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs.

Now looking ahead into the coming days, the Secretary General will be visiting Greece and Turkey on Thursday and Friday; and leaving later today. The two countries, of course, are marking the sixtieth anniversary of their accession to NATO. They have been a pillar... two pillars of the Alliance. And they continue to make very important political and military contributions. It will be an important opportunity to discuss the Chicago agenda. And the Secretary General will be addressing the media and think tanks, both in Athens and in Ankara.

One final point. You may have seen in the news that Greek and Slovenian helicopters have arrived in Podgorica to help Montenegro cope with severe winter conditions. Montenegro declared a state of emergency and asked for NATO assistance.

With that, over to Ludwig, on AGS, who once again will be speaking as a NATO official. Ludwig. (...)

Good afternoon and welcome to our press briefing.

Thank you for staying on. We have with us Ludwig Decamps, Director of Strategy and Smart Defence, in the NATO’s Defence Investment Division and he will update us on NATO’s future Alliance Ground Surveillance -- as you know, the final details of this key programme were agreed earlier this month by NATO Defence Ministers and Ludwig will be speaking on background as a “NATO Official”.

Before, let me just go through with you some important information. For those of you who are planning to cover the Chicago summit, some infrormation which I think will be useful for planning purposes. This is not for broadcast or reporting but just for your planning. First, there will be a single accreditation for the NATO Summit and the G8 summits so you only need one accreditation.

The NATO Summit will take place in Chicago on Sunday 20 and Monday 21 May. There won’t be any final programme yet so please don’t ask for details - not for some time. We are working on it. The good news though is that the media will be invited to what is known as a media ‘walkabout’ of the facilities and venues of the summit in Chicago on 29 March. That will take place from early morning to mid-day. The US State Department will be issuing information on this in the coming days, including on hotel bookings, should you need one. For the walkabout, you’ll have to register for the ‘walkabout’ with the US State Department.

Finally, for those covering the Summit, you will require an “I-Visa”, which is the type of visa issued for journalists. For more information, type ‘travel.state.gov’ in your web browser without "www".

So, that is about Chicago. And most of what we have been doing here and what we continue to do is geared up towards Chicago.

Now, let me start with our agenda for today, look back a couple of days and then look forward. As we speak, the North Atlantic Council is meeting with the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev who just held a press point in the last few minutes.

You may have heard President Aliyev announcing that he will tell the NAC about Azerbaijan’s intention to contribute to the Afghan national army trust fund which the Secretary General warmly welcomed. The Secretary General said we appreciate this announcement, this is crucial because we need to make sure that the Afghan Security Forces take responsibility for their own country. They will also need money to do that.

Azerbaijan, as you know, is a troop contributor to ISAF. It also gives NATO overflight rights and we are very grateful for this continued support. So I expect Azerbaijan will be discussing with the 28 NAC Ambassadors the situation in Afghanistan. The Secretary General had a good bilateral meeting with President Aliyev in the last hour. Azerbaijan is one of the Alliance’s longstanding partners in the EAPC and obviously will be taking part in the ISAF Summit in Chicago.

As you may know, NATO and Azerbaijan agreed in December a new individual
Partnership Action Plan or IPAP, that will provide the basis for our practical cooperation over the next two years.
On Monday, we had a meeting with the NPA – NATO Parliamentary Assembly and welcomed the President of the NPA Dr. Karl Lamers and other members of the NPA for a Council session. There was quite a lively discussion on the priorities looking ahead to the Chicago Summit. Obviously Afghanistan, Smart Defence, Missile Defence and strengthening the Transatlantic Link. The Secretary General, who was of course a parliamentarian for many years himself, appreciates these sorts of exchanges and he accepted to take part in the NPA annual meeting in Prague in November.

On Tuesday, there was a seminar here at NATO Headquarters with the NATO Ambassadors and the four partner countries of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI): Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE to discuss ways to deepen partnership ahead of NATO's Chicago Summit in May.

There was a lot of appreciation expressed for the contribution of some of our partners in the region to Operation Unified Protector. Also for their support for the ISAF operation. You may have noticed that Bahrain became the 50th contributor to ISAF last December and there was also a discussion on developing closer consultation mechanisms following the adoption of the new Strategic Concept and looking forward, again, to Chicago.

Finally, two other points.

One, I would also like to tell you that we have since the beginning of the week a new Deputy Secretary General in NATO. This is somebody many of you will already know because it is Ambassador Alexander Vershbow of the United States. He became DSG on Monday this week. The NATO Deputy Secretary General is the Alliance’s second most senior international civil servant.

Ambassador Alexander Vershbow succeeds Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero of Italy who held the post until February 2012 when he became Italian Ambassador to Washington.

And Ambassador Vershbow previously served as US Assistant Secretary of Defence for International Security Affairs.

Looking ahead into the coming days, the Secretary General will be visiting Greece and Turkey on Thursday and Friday, leaving later today. The two countries, of course, are marking 60th anniversary of their accession to NATO. They have been two pillars of the Alliance and they continue to make very
important political and military contributions.

It will be an important opportunity to discuss the Chicago agenda and the Secretary General will be addressing the media and think tanks both in Athens and Ankara.

One final point: you may have seen in the news that Greek and Slovenian Helicopters have arrived in Podgorica to help Montenegro cope with severe winter conditions.

With that, over to Ludwig decamps who, once again, will be speaking to you as a “NATO official”. Ludwig…



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