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Fresh Afghan Moves As NATO Expands

  • April 2nd, 2009
  • Posted by EUEditor

nato-new-members.jpgThe North Atlantic alliance has acquired two new member states, Albania and Croatia, and has acted to strengthen reconstruction efforts being seen as a key to the battle for Afghanistan.

AFGHANISTAN GATHERING

A new high-level round of consultations on the Afghanistan military effort, being conducted under a NATO command structure, took place at The Hague this week (31.1.09).

The alliance unveiled the formation of a trust fund for channelling increased payments for the build-up of Afghan security forces.

Expansion of the Afghan National Army and police, with advanced training, was a central point in revised policies being put forward by the Obama administration in the United Sates. (See EUAustralia, Questions on Afghanistan, 25.3.09).

The talks in the Netherlands, on renovating the Afghan campaign, included the Australian Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith, the New Zealand Minister, Dr Wayne Mapp, and the European Union’s  External Relations Commissioner, Benita  Ferrero-Waldner.

The United Nations Secretary General, Ban ki-Moon, attended, the military and reconstruction drive being under United Nations aegis.

NEW MEMBERS

The next day (1.4.09) the NATO Secretary General, Jap de Hoop Scheffer, announced the accession of the two new member states.

“Today, Albania and Croatia have completed the accession process, and have joined the Alliance as members,” he said.

“In becoming NATO members, Albania and Croatia share the benefits and responsibilities of collective security.”

nato-membership-map.pngMember states this month: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.EXPANDING ALLIANCE

Extract from a NATO backgrounder on its enlargement:

“NATO’s door remains open to any European country in a position to undertake the commitments and obligations of membership, and contribute to security in the Euro-Atlantic area. Since 1949, NATO’s membership has increased from 12 to 28 countries through six rounds of enlargement. Albania and Croatia, which were invited to join NATO at the Bucharest Summit in April 2008, formally became members when the accession process was completed on 1 April 2009.

“The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia1 has, like Albania and Croatia, been participating in the Membership Action Plan (MAP) for a number of years to prepare for possible membership. At Bucharest, Allied leaders agreed to invite the country to become a member as soon as a mutually acceptable solution to the issue over the country’s name has been reached with Greece.

“A number of other important decisions concerning enlargement were taken at Bucharest. Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro were invited to start Intensified Dialogues on their membership aspirations and related reforms. Allied leaders also agreed that Georgia and Ukraine – which were already engaged in an Intensified Dialogue with NATO – will become members in future.

“NATO’s “open door policy” is based on Article 10 of its founding treaty. Any decision to invite a country to join the Alliance is taken by the North Atlantic Council, NATO’s principal decision-making body, on the basis of consensus among all Allies. No third country has a say in such deliberations.

“NATO’s ongoing enlargement process poses no threat to any country. It is aimed at promoting stability and cooperation, at building a Europe whole and free, united in peace, democracy and common values.”

Reference:

NATO, Brussels, Expansion, Briefing document.
http://www.nato.int/cps/en/SID-E697999F-E209BF8C/natolive/topics_49212.htm, (2.4.09)

Pictures:

Welcome to new members, Brussels, NATO pic; European member states’ map (leaves out canada, USA), leading-up to 2009 expansion, Wikipedia.

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