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Friday, 12 March 2010

Discussions on Russia and Afghanistan in the Belvedere

  |   Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Lech Kaczyński

On Friday in Warsaw, Lech Kaczyński, the President of Poland, and Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Secretary General of NATO, discussed the new strategic principles adopted by NATO, the situation in Afghanistan and NATO-Russia relations.


After the meeting, the president said that NATO “is essential as far as the safety of our country and the continent and maintaining balance in the world at large are concerned."

According to him, Rasmussen, as Secretary General, will ensure that NATO lasts and retains its protective character without avoiding necessary military missions aimed at maintaining peace and not creating new conflicts.


“NATO should remain strict in terms of its policy in the years and decades to come and I believe that it will do so,” said Lech Kaczyński.


He stated that his discussion with Rasmussen was also about Afghanistan – the necessity to take “energetic action” and also “optimism connected with the expected development of the situation there in 2010."


The president also emphasized that he fully agreed with the opinion of Rasmussen that Russia should not become a member of NATO.


On Friday, at a conference concerning the new strategic principles of NATO held in the Royal Castle in Warsaw, the Secretary General of NATO said that it is theoretically possible for Russia to become a member of NATO but added that, the situation being as it is, this is not feasible.


“Russia should not become a member of NATO and, as far as I can tell, its plans connected with the organisation are different. Cooperation with Russia has to take into account the current political attitude of this country (…) because, without doubt, persons currently holding power in the Russian Federation consider the interest of Russia their top priority. It has been that way up until now and nothing seems to indicate a change," affirmed Lech Kaczyński.


At the same time, he stated that he does not mean to say that NATO-Russia cooperation is unnecessary – Afghanistan is proof to the contrary. Had it not been for the Russian transportation channel, the action in Afghanistan would have been “incomparably more difficult.”


Rasmussen emphasized that NATO is most of all about cooperation. “Cooperation and solidarity within NATO means that when someone attacks one of its members, such an assault is considered to be directed against the entire organisation. This is why we are present in Afghanistan now.”


During the meeting with the Polish president, the issue of the future of NATO was also discussed, especially its new strategic principles. “We both understand that the main task of NATO is to maintain territorial security, as indicated in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty,” Rasmussen said. He reiterated that defending its member states will remain the main objective of NATO.


Also, in his opinion, America should remain strongly involved in establishing a European security system. “As of now, NATO is the only platform enabling cooperation and exchange of opinion concerning security between Europe and America," he said.


(PAP, own information)

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