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NATO and the challenges of the 21st century: Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Tallinn



NATO and the challenges of the 21st century: Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Tallinn

NATO’s new role in meeting the challenges of the 21st century—this is to be the topic of the organisation’s Foreign Ministers’ Meeting planned for Tallinn (Estonia) on 22 and 23 April next.

The signatories of the Atlantic Alliance launched a process to modernize the organization back at the 2002 NATO Summit in Prague in order to ensure that its treaty would effectively respond to the threats of the new century. A process further reinforced at the Istanbul Summit in 2004, which concentrated on new scenarios such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Mediterranean terrorism and aid to the African Union for peace in the Sudan region of Darfur.

Today the organisation is redirecting its defence capabilities to confront current threats, adapting its forces and developing new multinational approaches to deal with terrorism and other security threats such as weapons of mass destruction. Moreover, it is augmenting and amplifying cooperation with 23 of its partners, as well as with Russia, Ukraine, Mediterranean partners, the Greater Middle East and other international organizations.

Italy is an active part of this modernisation process. Ambassador Giancarlo is a member of the Group of Experts whose task is to formulate proposals for the New Strategic Concept to be adopted by the Alliance at the end of 2010 (the existing one was adopted in 1999 when NATO had a membership of 19 as compared with today’s 28). The Group is made up of 12 members, all of whom were appointed by new NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, and is chaired by former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

The report’s objective, Aragona explained, is to “reconcile the defence of NATO’s basic values (the defence and security of its members) with a strategic global reality that has changed profoundly since its founding at the end of the Second World War. Today’s needs include confronting “IT risks, navigation security, terrorism and nuclear proliferation”. On the political plane, he added, “there will be a reflection on adopting a global approach to resolving the worldwide crisis by developing partnerships such as the one with Russia and by strengthening relations with the EU and the UN”. Furthermore, the NATO of the future will need to “adapt military resources and assets in order to better impact on distant theatres such as Afghanistan”.

Italy, the Ambassador specified, “has historically contributed a great deal to NATO”, with “the high rate of military forces deployed and its participation in “the most important international missions”. Moreover, Italy has helped to bring the Alliance closer to Russia, a process that culminated in the establishment of the NATO-Russia Council at the Pratica di Mare Summit in 2002.



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