France / NATO
- Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the Republic, and Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary General (credit: Présidence de la République - L.Blevennec)
President Sarkozy had a meeting with Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary General, who was accompanied, inter alia, by the new Assistant Secretary General for Defence Investment, Patrick Auroy.
The President and Mr Rasmussen had warm, constructive discussions about all the issues on the agenda of the NATO summit in Lisbon on 20 November 2010.
The President reaffirmed the centrality of the collective defence commitments under article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. He underlined our support for adapting the Atlantic Alliance to meet the new threats and for an in-depth reform of NATO, which we called for when we decided to participate fully in NATO’s structures.
The President and Mr Rasmussen took the view that as long as nuclear weapons exist, the Atlantic Alliance will remain a nuclear alliance. The Head of State confirmed that France’s independent nuclear forces, which have a deterrent role of their own, will go on contributing to the overall deterrence and security of the Allies.
He reiterated France’s support in principle for the new approach to antimissile defence proposed by the President of the United States and currently under discussion in NATO. A decision could be taken in Lisbon, on the basis of a realistic project, tailored to the development of the ballistic threat emanating from some programmes in the Middle East and alongside a dialogue with Russia with a view to cooperation. France will contribute to it. As Mr Rasmussen stressed, anti-missile defence is designed to complement nuclear deterrence and not replace it.
The President recalled the specific nature of the relationship between the European Union and NATO, which the Lisbon Treaty underlines. He approved the steps the Secretary-General is taking to strengthen cooperation between the two organizations on all security issues and recalled that the European Union’s operations are also contributing to the Alliance’s comprehensive security.
They talked about the partnership with Russia, four days before President Sarkozy’s meeting with President Medvedev and Chancellor Merkel. He expressed his full support for revitalizing NATO’s relations with Russia through concrete projects and the prospect of a NATO/Russia summit. The NATO/Russia relationship contributes to building a common area of peace, stability and security for everyone.
On Afghanistan, the President and Secretary-General reviewed the progress of the current operations and signalled their agreement to the Lisbon summit launching a process of transition, in areas where the situation permits, with security responsibilities being transferred to Afghan forces. Afghanistan must not in any case once again become a refuge for terrorists and a base for their criminal activities. Our security depends on this./.