Romania and NATO new strategic concept

Drawing up the new strategic concept of the North-Atlantic Alliance, set to enter into force in 2010, on the occasion of the Lisbon Summit, and the importance of Art. 5 of the North-Atlantic Pact in the context generated by asymmetrical threats and by the missions assumed outside the Alliance’s consecrated space, were the main topics of discussion at the international conference „NATO and the New Strategic Concept. Romania‘s priorities”, held on Friday, at Parliament Palace, in Bucharest.

This conference is in fact the top event as the result of some activities started with some working meetings at the level of non-governmental organizations and of the civil society in this field, at academic level, as well as at the political decision takers and military levels.

„This is a survey meeting, where we have invited both representatives of the partner states in the Euro-Atlantic community, NATO member allies, as well as representatives from the NATO General Secretariat, and people going to initiate the new strategic concept draft”, Iulian Chifu,director of the Conflict Prevention Center, this conference organizer.

„What is important in this context is that, five years since it entered NATO, Romania hosted an Alliance’s Summit and now it is, as a first, engaged in the drafting process of this strategic concept project – most likely a relevant document for NATO in the coming 10 years”, pinpointed Iulian Chifu.
NATO strategic concept is a public diplomacy document containing the main development directions of the North-Atlantic Alliance, the latest such document being drawn up in 1999.

„That year we discussed for the first time about operations outside NATO area. The time has come for us to update all questions related to the terrorist threats, deployment of troops at a strategic distance, or in the neighborhood, of combating the cross-border dangers, when we talk about the Alliance’s border”, added Chifu.
He stressed that the new strategic concept is a programme document, its content including the new directions of development for the Alliance.
Each NATO member state comes up with own suggestions for the drawing up of this new concept.

Romania wishes the reaffirmation of Art. 5 from the North-Atlantic Pact – says Chifu in this context. „Appearance of some operations outside the area might be looked upon by some, who examine these developments, as a separate issue from the territory’s defence. Or, we very well know that there is a continuum as for what is happening at territory level and the operations in Afghanistan because they are useful to stop those threats directed against our territory. They can be more easily countered there than in our countries”, explained the expert.

Another field in which Romanian side seems to be interested in is energy security. „Romania is one of the promoting states of the energy security component. For the time being NATO has accepted it and introduced in its final documents specific operations directed to the protection of critical infrastructure on land or water. Currently, some formulas are thought including other elements of energy security strategy NATO should assume”, added Chifu.
The first part of the meeting was dedicated to some presentations of the new strategic concept, as well as Romania’s position towards the future concept.

Director of Policy Planning in the Private Office of NATO Secretary General Jamie Shea – viewed by experts as one of the „key people” responsible for the drawing up the Alliance’s new strategic concept – presented the talks agenda on this subject, underlining the importance of the process of debate of this strategic concept.
Jamie Shea also welcomed the way Romania is following up this process and the interest this Alliance’s debate stirs in Romania.

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