Making all the right noises at NATO
STATEMENT ISSUED BY THE HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT PARTICIPATING IN A MEETING OF THE NORTH ATLANTIC COUNCIL IN BRUSSELS ON 22 FEBRUARY 2005
We, the 26 Heads of State and Government of the member countries of the North Atlantic Alliance, reaffirm the enduring value of the transatlantic link, renew our commitment to collective defence, and remain united in our commitment to our shared security and common values of democracy, freedom, individual liberty and the rule of law in addressing today's security challenges. Recent elections in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Palestinian Territories, as well as Ukraine have once again demonstrated, in diverse circumstances, that these values are shared in the aspirations of people around the world.
Afghanistan has turned an important corner in building a stable, democratic and multiethnic state.� In support of the Government, NATO is expanding its ISAF operation to the western part of Afghanistan and will provide additional forces for the forthcoming National Assembly elections. We will continue the expansion to the rest of the country, and enhance cooperation and coordination with Operation Enduring Freedom, with a view to increasing synergy and better integrating the two operations.
The Iraqi people have shown enormous courage in shaping their own future at the election booth. Reaffirming Iraq's sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity, we are united in our commitment to support them and their newly-elected government in their effort to build an inclusive democracy and secure nation. Consistent with UNSC Resolution 1546, all 26 Allies are contributing to the NATO mission to assist in training Iraqi security forces, to hasten the day when they can take full responsibility for the stability of the country and the security of its citizens.
We remain firm in our commitment to stability in the Balkans and see the future of this region firmly anchored in the Euro-Atlantic community. NATO will maintain its strong presence in Kosovo and contribute to the UN-led political process of building a multiethnic, peaceful and prosperous society.
The Mediterranean Dialogue and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative are proving effective tools in enhancing consultations and developing mutually beneficial relationships and cooperation on common security concerns with states of the Mediterranean and Broader Middle East.� We welcome the recent positive developments in the dialogue between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and we expect they will benefit the whole region as well as those initiatives.��
We intend to develop further our strategic partnership with the EU. A stronger EU will further contribute to our common security.� We will enhance cooperation with the United Nations and with other international organizations in our common efforts. We will continue to work closely with Russia, in the framework of the NATO-Russia Council, and with our partners and friends to address common threats to our security.
We met with President Yushchenko and congratulated the people of Ukraine on their commitment to democracy and the rule of law. We pledged continued support and welcomed their aspirations for building a democratic and prosperous Ukraine and strengthening their integration into the Euro-Atlantic community.
We are determined to fight terrorism, strengthen security, and build peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area and beyond.� We will further transform the Alliance and its capabilities to respond to our common security challenges.� We are committed to strengthening NATO's role as a forum for strategic and political consultation and coordination among Allies, while reaffirming its place as the essential forum for security consultation between Europe and North America.