“NATO foreign ministers were unanimous in urging the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the United States as soon as possible”. This was Minister Bonino’s comment at the NATO Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels. She described the agreement, which concerns the presence of American troops in Afghanistan post-2014, as “paving the way for all the other possible measures”. The Minister pointed out, however, that Karzai “proposed that it be signed after the presidential elections, but has also proposed that the elections be postponed”.
“All of the speeches reiterated the demand to apply pressure for the agreement to be signed as soon as possible”. It will enable programmes for the presence of US troops, and for the NATO mission, to be put in place.
The Ministerial was opened by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. He pointed out that the BSA provides the legal framework not just for the troop presence but also for the NATO mission and also, and above all, for the relative funding.
Syria: recognition for Italy’s role – we should be invited to Geneva
On the Syrian crisis, Minister Bonino commented that “I think and hope that the role played by Italy will be recognised”. Our country has been present and active on the political front and in the efforts to bring humanitarian assistance and to destroy the chemical weapons. We also have a strong presence in the UNIFIL mission in Lebanon. Minister Bonino hoped that Italy will be included in the list of participants in the Geneva 2 Conference, due to be announced by the United Nations Secretary General on 20 December.
NATO: government supports Frattini’s candidacy, says Bonino
The government is supporting Franco Frattini’s candidacy – the only one, in fact – to succeed Anders Fogh Rasmussen as NATO Secretary General in 2014. The crucial point will be the ministerial scheduled for April next year, as Minister Bonino told journalists at the end of the first day of the Foreign Affairs Council.
NATO–Russia Council and busy agenda for Day 2 of Ministerial
The second day of the Ministerial will also have a full agenda. The schedule includes a meeting of the NATO–Russia Council, a meeting in International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) format to discuss the Alliance’s commitment after 31 December 2014, and a review of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) funding mechanism. These will be followed by a meeting of the NATO–Georgia Commission, which will examine the current state of relations and Tbilisi’s closer Euro-Atlantic integration.
September 2014 Summit: setting the agenda
The Brussels Ministerial is the first step in setting the agenda and defining the outcomes for the Summit of Heads of State and Government scheduled to take place on 4-5 September 2014 in the United Kingdom. The aim is to outline the shape and format of NATO post-2014, by bringing its role and tasks into line with current security needs.