» Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Asked if the Prime Minister had any important bilateral meetings tomorrow afternoon at the NATO Summit, the PMS said that we could update journalists on that once we were there; the Prime MInister had some bilateral meetings tomorrow ahead of the working dinner.

On NATO more generally there would be a dinner tomorrow evening and on Thursday there would be a meeting in the morning of the North Atlantic Council, which was a wider group including defence and foreign Ministers. That would be followed by a working lunch of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership and then the main discussion on Afghanistan would take place in the afternoon. On Friday there would be meetings of the NATO-Ukraine Summit and the NATO-Russia Council.

The two main issues for us were Afghanistan, where the Prime Minister had been saying he would like to see more burden sharing. As had been widely anticipated, clarification was expected from the French regarding their position. As we had been saying over the weekend, we had a particular proposal in relation to helicopters, which would be an Anglo-French initiative; this would be calling for the creation of a helicopter trust fund to which we hoped that some other members of NATO would contribute as well as us. The money in this trust fund would be used to refurbish helicopters from other member states in NATO in order to ensure that they were properly equipped to deal with the particular circumstances in Afghanistan. This was a good example of reforming NATO; making procedures more flexible in order to make better use of NATO military capacity in order to enhance capability on the ground.

Another issue which had been touched on yesterday was the issue of membership action plans for Ukraine and Georgia; our position in principal was that we supported the adoption of membership action plans for Ukraine and Georgia but we needed to discuss the modalities and exact timing with our NATO partners.

Asked if the UK supported whatever the next step was regarding the membership of Albania, Croatia and Macedonia, the PMS replied that that was correct and that the UK would support a formal invitation of membership to those countries.

Asked if it was hopeful that Greece would back the Macedonia bid, the PMS said that he was sure a solution could be found.

Asked if the role of the EU in regard to NATO would come up at the summit, the PMS replied that the general subject of the relationship between the EU and NATO would come up as part of the discussions about both NATO operations and NATO reform.

original source.

Briefing took place at 16:45 | Search for related news

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