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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 29, 2006
Background Briefing by Senior Administration Officials on the NATO Summit
Olympic Sports Centre
1:13 P.M. (Local)
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Good afternoon. I just wanted to briefly go through the meetings and the summit. First of all, terrific set of meetings. Really a vital moment in today's struggle for the allies to recommit themselves to meet the challenges in the 21st century. A year ago we laid out a transformation agenda; we achieved all of the things that were on our agenda today. So that's the first thing.
Let me go through a couple of the highlights. On enlargement, you'll see in the communiqué that the allies committed to open door policy, also committed to inviting countries that meet NATO's performance-based standards at the 2008 summit.
On Partnership for Peace, agreement was reached to invite Bosnia Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia to join Partnership for Peace. This is a step forward, we believe, in strengthening security in the Balkans region, and improving the Euro-Atlantic integration of those countries.
We achieved a Middle East training initiative. That was a big thing on our list, to further what the Alliance has been doing in training, increasing the capability of partners that we might interact with in the future.
The NRF, the NATO Response Force, was declared fully operationally capable, big achievement that we have. That was an initiative that was launched years ago, but has now reached a big milestone. The Alliance adopted its comprehensive political guidance, which is basically the QDR for the Alliance going forward, focusing on the Alliance being a more deployable, interoperable organization.
In terms of specific transformation initiatives, the Alliance adopted a C-17 consortium initiative, which will address one of the key shortfalls, military shortfalls in the Alliance, which is strategic airlift, and also an initiative on special operations to improve the coordination and interoperability of special operations forces.
To put some of these initiatives in context, most of them are things that Afghanistan showed us that the Alliance needed to address future challenges. So kind of -- Afghanistan was almost a bit of a testing ground for some of these things. Alliance saw that we needed them, practical initiatives, and we've adopted them today to move forward.
A couple of other things. A lot of discussion today about the need for the allies to spend more. They laid out -- the allies agreed to a broad range of things that they wanted to do, and basic agreement that you need the resources, you need to put the money into this in order for the Alliance to achieve its objectives.
Last thing, global partnership. This was another initiative that we had been pursuing, another one that comes from Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, in addition to all 26 NATO allies, we have 11 partner countries, ranging from New Zealand, to Australia, Korea. This partnership initiative will allow more interaction with NATO in these partner countries, allow them to -- these countries to interact a lot more with NATO, to be involved, to be at the table as NATO develops plans for the future, use a lot of the partnership tools that we have that are open to European countries, now the EAPC countries.
So we think that this is a very practical step forward, that really reflects the reality of what NATO is doing today. We're really interacting with countries that are outside the Alliance to deliver security, to address global issues.
Let me go through just a little bit of the dinner last evening. It was a confidential meeting; it was just leaders plus one, so I can't give you details, but let me give you a little idea of the atmospherics and the type of the discussion.
It was a good meeting. It was focused almost entirely on Afghanistan. There was an agreement that we have the power to succeed, the will to succeed, and that we must succeed as an alliance on the Afghanistan mission; that this is important for the future of Afghanistan -- not only for the future of Afghanistan, but also for the future of the global war on terror and the future of the Alliance -- the Alliance credibility is on the line in Afghanistan -- and it will be a NATO priority going forward.
There were a number of ideas discussed, focused on really how to enhance the effectiveness of the overall effort. There was an agreement that the Alliance would pursue some of these ideas. And there were a number of countries that announced initiatives -- new commitments, including troops, including removing caveats. I don't have a list of specifics, since it was a private meeting.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: At the end I'll just walk through the communiqué and show you what we think our key achievements in the text are. The text represents the 26 Alliance's consensus.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: It represents years of work, 2001 in Prague -- post 9/11 --
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Post 9/11 transformation of the Alliance, not that the transformation is completed, but we think that this is a major step forward, and where the Alliance has to go, to kind of go from a static Alliance that we used to have, just worried about the defense of Europe, to an expeditionary, deployable alliance that faces threats that we face in the world today, wherever they happen to be.
And I'd be happy to take questions.
Q Do you have any more specifics on the caveat?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I don't, unfortunately. It was discussed at the --
Q They're eased, right?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Afghanistan was discussed at the dinner. What we have on the dinner is what we gave you, but we do understand that there were --
Q So what happened on the caveats?
Q Did these countries agreed to change their restrictions?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: My sense is that overall, the mission was strengthened by what some heads were able to bring to Riga. But what's more important is what heads do as they go home from Riga, all with this understanding of our need to have a very strong, solid mission going forward.
Q Thank you very much for doing this, we really appreciate it. What sort of time horizon does the President imagine for intensive NATO involvement in Afghanistan?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: We don't have a timetable for that. I would imagine NATO is committed for as long as it takes to accomplish the mission. It wasn't a discussion about time frame. The thought is out there that this is an important NATO mission, and we have to succeed in Afghanistan. But there was not a discussion about it.
Q There was a conversation on the sidelines about 2008. Was there any conversation about that?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: The only thing that was talked about in the context of 2008 was the 2008 summit and the hope to invite new members to join in 2008. So we're hoping for another round of enlargement in 2008. But there wasn't a discussion of anything else that I heard of tied to 2008.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I heard no one, either in the meetings nor in the corridors, say we ought to have an Afghan time horizon of 2008 or any other time. I didn't hear anything.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: No, in fact -- tough mission and we're going to succeed, that was kind of the thought on that.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: In our 26 agreement here, we talk about being committed to an enduring role in support of the Afghan authorities. I'll walk you through all this in a second.
Q -- to the French proposal of having greater outreach to Iran in the context of Afghanistan? Chirac was talking about that yesterday, today and the day before.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: There's nothing in the communiqué. It didn't come up in the meetings today.
Q The French have said they brought it up in the meetings. You're saying that it did not come up in the meetings?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: It could have been in the dinner. It did not come up at the table today, but I will check my notes.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: But, again, we don't have anything more from the dinner last night because we weren't in attendance.
Q On the discussions to integrate Bosnia and Serbia, were there any U.S. reservations about the war crimes issue? I know some other countries expressed reservations about that.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: You'll see in the communiqué that there is a mention of the need for full cooperation with ICTY. The other thing that I can add is that the President received a letter from President Tadich on the 21st -- the 21st was last week -- where President Tadich talked about the importance of Serbia integrating into Atlantic institutions, and fully committed to cooperation with ICTY. And that was clearly a factor in the decision.
Q Is the U.S. satisfied with that?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Satisfied might be too strong a word. I think that the thought is that NATO will keep looking at this issue, but we'll work it from the inside. We've been trying the other way for about three years, and that has not been successful. So let's bring them in, let's work with them, and we'll still monitor. In fact, I think the communiqué says we'll continue to monitor cooperation with ICTY.
Q Did you get what you wanted when it came to the troops issue, and the resources issues, and Afghanistan? Is it still a work in progress? You said that countries were going to go back -- the leaders were going to go back to their countries and try to work this out.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I think what we got, and we were looking for, was a recommitment to the importance of the mission, and an understanding that there needs to be flexibility, that we need to get the command of the resources they need. So you'll see, when you look at the communiqué, that all of the main themes are in there. What we don't have is a specific list of what each country is going to do to achieve this.
Did you want to add something?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I was just going to say, I think the symbolism of being here in Riga -- the President spoke about it yesterday, but I felt in the room today that it was very strong among all leaders that this Alliance was founded with the idea of promoting freedom on this continent, and a really strong sense that we are here in Riga, having a NATO summit, and it is that same set of values that enabled the Alliance to succeed in the Cold War that is propelling us today to put our effort in Afghanistan and to work together to train Iraqis. I thought it was quite poignant this morning.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: The other thing I noticed, just to add to this, was there's a lot of discussion about enlargement, an awful lot of discussion about enlargement. A lot of the countries talked about it, it wasn't just from the U.S. perspective, but a lot of the leaders talked about having to continue to enlarge this Alliance, and wanting to be able to issue invitations in 2008.
So it was kind of carry through that theme of, we're in Latvia, it's a country that's only been in the Alliance for two years, what a remarkable thing NATO has done to be able to spread freedom and democracy across Europe. And it's clear that at a heads of state level, they want to continue that.
Q How many C-17s?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Three-and-a-half.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Timeshare kind of deal.
Q How many do they have now?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Nations own C-17s nationally mostly. This is our first effort as having -- this is our first effort to allow countries to buy by the hour.
Q So we're really going from zero, under NATO.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: In a sense it is. And what you'll see, when you see the list of the countries that are buying into this, these are countries that can't afford a C-17, for the most part, so you share it.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: The beauty of using NATO for this, is if a country only needs a tenth of a plane or a quarter of a plane, we can get them together here, and it makes it cheaper and easier, and it also makes the training easier, and the bedding down cheaper, and all that stuff.
Q Can anybody be more definitive on the commitment of troops, numbers? There was an effort at one point to at least increase the number by 2,500 or so, added on to the 32,500 total --
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: There was no discussion of that this morning. Do you have anything?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Again, we never intended this meeting to be a pledging conference. That's not what it was about. Our understanding is that some countries in the private dinner did say that they're going to do more. We don't have those numbers, but what's most important is that they all had a highlighted sense of the importance of sticking with it, of being -- of having solidarity among them, and they'll all go home now and think about how they sustain this for the long term, and how each of them does it.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: There was a strong sense in the two dinners last night, the heads dinner and the foreign ministers dinner -- of NATO as an alliance in action to defend values. And this came out very strongly in the discussion of Afghanistan, and it echoed today in the meetings at the table -- the symbolism of Latvia was one element, the discussion of Afghanistan was another.
But you had -- and I think it was important to have -- a recommitment of political will, and the Alliance to remind itself why it is in Afghanistan and how important the Afghanistan mission is. And that you heard very strongly last night and this morning. And you also -- I can say so -- also heard it especially from Chirac and some people that have been traditionally more NATO-skeptical people were saying that this really is important, we really do need to succeed here. That was an important message.
Q When you read what they talked about at the dinner last night, you said, power to succeed, will to succeed. Was that a statement, or just a verbal thing?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: That was the feeling that came out of the meeting, the thought that came out of the meeting.
Q You said that you didn't come to the meeting with a specific shopping list of sorts of what countries could commit or should commit, but in the runup to this, NATO military commanders were both blunt and specific of where the shortcomings were, and specifically what they needed as far as troops and equipment. I don't think anyone really doubts as a concept that Afghanistan is important, but if you leave without specific commitments to address the specific request commanders have made for four months, how is this in any way progress other than political and verbal progress?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I think it was important that at the level of heads of state, heads of government, that nations recommitted to this. And I'll just add one thing to what my colleague said, is no one argued against it. You might not think that that's an important thing, but they did. No one said, done enough already; we don't need more troops; there isn't a problem -- nobody argued on the other side. It was really the general consensus that not only is the mission important, but we need to do what it takes to make the mission succeed.
So you get that at the heads of state level, and they do go back and give instruction. There were specifics last night, we know there were, we just don't have the list of what they were. So I think you'll see it in the next few days. You'll see countries talking about what they'll send.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Do you want to go through this? Is that useful?
Q That would be great.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Do we have any other general questions?
Q Yes, I have one more question. With regard to enlargement, one of the countries the President mentioned yesterday was Georgia. Did that come up specifically, and what is its status?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I think that there was -- again, you'll see in the communiqué how it was handled, but there was general discussion about the need to enlarge in 2008, always performance based, as it's in the communiqué, discussion about a number of countries. There was discussion about the three that are now -- Croatia, Albania and Macedonia. There was also discussion about Georgia and Ukraine, since they're both in intensified dialogues, and they're on a membership path.
Various views, you know -- will they be ready by then, will they continue reforms. In the case of Ukraine, will they want it. So there was a lot of discussion. There wasn't a decision made, per se. you'll see the way it was handled in the communiqué, which is basically a bit of encouragement, in terms of what they've done, but also talking about what still needs to be done on all five of the countries.
Q Is the friction with Russia a factor?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I was actually impressed with the number of leaders around the table today who spoke positively about the need for the Alliance to support democratic reform in Georgia, and to use intensified dialogue to do that.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: There is a strong sense that the Georgians need to do their utmost to resolve their so-called "frozen conflicts," of these breakaway territories peacefully and responsibly. And I would say that's a strong sense. And I heard that.
What I did not hear was anybody saying, well, we can't move forward with Georgia because Russia doesn't like it. The Alliance has had experience with NATO enlargement with Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary in the mid '90s, the Baltics earlier in President Bush's presidency. So the Alliance can deal with that, but the emphasis was, as it should be, on Georgia to perform. The sense was, if I can characterize it, when Georgia is ready, the Alliance should be ready. And so the emphasis is Georgia, not Russia, and not us, but Georgia to do what it has to do.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: You'll see in the communiqué that there was also a discussion about NATO and Russia, and improving cooperation between NATO and Russia. So there was some discussion of Russia.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: This is the follow-along-with-us communiqué brief, okay? So, para one and two, just what we're about. I would just say, as you look at this, look at the number of times we use the word "values" -- defensive values, defense of our security and values. And, again, a lot of the discussion this morning/last night was a reaffirmation that we were founded to defend values -- defend them -- and in those days, our understanding was we had to defend them here. Now we know that those same values, that same sense of security has to be defended out there and that that is what binds all of what we do -- Afghanistan, the training of Iraqis, the support to the African Union, patrolling in the MD. It is in defense of those founding values of the Alliance.
Okay. So you see us saying the very first thing, "meet the security challenges of the 21st century" - that's in paragraph one. Para three, same line the President used yesterday, "six challenging missions and operations in three geographic regions." I think the first sentence gives you a sense of the sweep, the global sweep of what NATO is up to -- from Afghanistan to the Balkans, from the Mediterranean Sea to Darfur.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: And remember, for perspective, during the Cold War, the period that everybody lionizes as NATO's great day -- NATO didn't actually do anything; it was ready to do everything -- did nothing. Now it's doing.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I guess I would say, if I had to pick my line that would summarize this summit, it's the first line of paragraph three: "From Afghanistan to the Balkans, from the Mediterranean Sea to Darfur, in six challenging missions and operations in three geographic regions, we're advancing peace and security and standing shoulder-to-shoulder with those who defend our common values of democracy and freedom as embodied in the Washington Treaty."
Okay. So it's all of that geography, it's all of those values, and it's not just us, it's us standing shoulder-to-shoulder with those around the world who want to do the same thing. Okay?
Then I would look carefully, if you're interested in Afghanistan, at paras four through seven. You can look at this as an integral whole. Here we talk about our political commitment to Karzai and the people of Afghanistan. We talk about all the things we're doing in security terms, including training the ANA. And nationally looking at what we can do to train the police -- very, very important; hard fought here at NATO. And then the next is, no security in Afghanistan without development, no development without security; speaks about the importance of PRTs. Also this new strong sense that NATO has got to work very well with the U.N., the EU, other international actors in our theaters -- you see that later, as well.
Kosovo. Here para 10 is an effort in NATO-speak -- it's a little bit hard to understand - but if you look down five lines from the bottom, you have an actual tasking from heads to foreign ministers to improve NATO's ability to work with partners in the theater -- U.N., relevant international organizations, non-government organizations. At NATO we call that concerted planning in action. It's a new way of thinking about security; it's not just a military effort, it's an integral effort with civilian security providers.
Okay, global partnership. It starts at para 11. The operative new part for you all, in addition to our commitment to strengthen our existing fora, is 13, the second bullet. Here we enable the Alliance -- first of all there's a tasking to the North Atlantic Council to take this global partnership stuff forward, develop it, institutionalize it. Here, 13-2, "enable the Alliance to call ad-hoc meetings as events arise" This will be done using flexible formats, and it will allow us in a way we haven't been able to do before to mix and match countries in the EAPC, the MD, the ICI, and/or interested contact countries. Interested contact countries is NATO speak for countries that work with us that aren't in one of those regional boxes -- Japan, Australia, South Korea, maybe in the future other countries, Afghanistan itself, those kinds of things.
Q I don't see anything about training.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Hold on, we're not there yet. This is a little bit dense. The other key operative point is 13, the 3rd bullet. This is the opening up of the partnership tools. This is one of our main objectives, to get all of the tools that we currently have available for our folks in the transatlantic space opened to all countries. It will allow us to train and do interoperability work with countries like Australia, Japan, et cetera. That's what this is down here.
Okay, then 17 is your training. Starts with that we have a lot of expertise in training, we're going to develop this further. Specifically, in the middle of the paragraph, in the initial phase, we're going to expand the course offerings and create a Middle East faculty at the NATO Defense College. And in the second phase, we are going to look at -- consider supporting the establishment of a Security Cooperation Centre in the region. That's your new Middle East training initiative.
Eighteen is Iraq. Strong recommitment to the training role that we have in Iraq. And here in the middle, we task the military authorities to expand the course offerings that we do. This is code for our effort to start doing gendarme training at our NATO school in Rustimiyah, Baghdad, which is work we have to get going.
Okay, 20 is terrorism. A lot of stuff you've seen before here, Operation Active Endeavour, our operation in the Med. I want to point out one thing in particular. We commend NATO's Defence Against Terrorism initiatives. These are -- I don't know how many of you got a chance to go see the exhibit across the way. I hope you saw it -- didn't go. None of them went? Oh my goodness, it's so fabulous.
This is NATO's effort to put together countries to do counter IED technology, hardening of helicopters, new chem/bio detection techniques. I went over there and put on all the equipment, special forces working together -- that's elsewhere. So we commend those efforts, including development of cutting-edge technologies to counter terrorist threats, et cetera. So again, working together in this house we make each of our militaries stronger.
Then you get into all the defense transformation stuff. Obviously, 23, NRF fully operationally capable.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Remember, the NRF was an initiative -- launched as recently as the Prague summit in 2002. It has gone from -- sorry, the NRF has gone from a concept and a bunch of pieces of paper to an actual -- it's actually several brigade-strength force, now fully -- in its composite, fully operational. That's very fast.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: And we've already used it, even before it was fully operationally capable, to do humanitarian relief in Pakistan, as you know.
Okay, there's a whole bunch of wonky defense stuff in here, for those of you who are into that stuff. I want to point out in particular bullet three. This is our new special operations forces transformation initiative. This is a cooperation center where special forces will be able to train and work doctrine and other things together.
Q Can you give us any points on that? Starting small, I assume --
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I think as a training staff that is then going to do courses for larger work, I think it's on the magnitude of 300, but it's going to depend on how many countries want to participate. But I would ask that of Jones' people. And I think it's still in development. But it's a place where we can do training, we can do doctrine, we can do common communications, we can solve problems. And when you go out to the exhibit, if you do, you'll see some of the special operators working together.
Network Enabled Capability you se two bullets down. This is really key to being able to fight well together.
Intelligence fusion. This is something we've never done before. We're now doing it for Afghanistan. We have a fusion center that allows all of the different countries developing intelligence in Afghanistan to shoot it back down to the operators, where they need it.
Missile defense at the bottom, we signed the new -- the first contract to begin developing this work.
Okay, para 26, this was very, very important. This is about the need to resource defense. Very difficult issue in the Alliance. We're only seven -- only seven out of the 20 allies spent 2 percent or more on defense. We had wanted to reverse the slide, the downward slide in defense budgets, and we have a commitment to do that here in the middle of the paragraph; all 26 saying, "Therefore we encourage nations whose defence spending is declining to halt that decline and to aim to increase defence spending in real terms." That is a strong statement from all 26, particularly because for many European governments this is very difficult at home. But they've committed to do it here today.
Q It's phrased as "we encourage them to do that," --
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: "We encourage nations whose defense spending is declining to halt that decline and to aim to increase defense spending in real terms."
Q I read that, but encouraging and aiming you take as a commitment to actually do?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: This is all of them together, being willing to sign up to this. Remember, this is in the mouths of heads. So each of these heads has to go back and meet this commitment. So you don't get them to sign up for it if they're not willing to live up to it. That's the importance for us here.
Okay, going on, 29 starts with enlargement. Obviously, reaffirming the open door in the middle of the paragraph. And then here, this was very important for us, because we have -- in the middle of the paragraph -- "All European democratic countries may be considered for MAP or admission, subject to the decisions of the NAC." In other words, if you meet the treaty terms, you can't be excluded before the process starts, you can be considered.
And then here is the operative promise to all of the aspirants at the bottom of 30, "At our next summit in 2008, the Alliance intends to extend further invitations to those countries who meet NATO's performance based standards and are able to contribute to Euro-Atlantic security and stability." Then we go on with a line of encouragement for Albania and Croatia and Macedonia.
And then here, in 36, is where we combine the carrot of granting PfP and membership in the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council to Bosnia Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia, at the same time we make clear our expectations about ICTY. "In taking this step, we reaffirm the importance we attach to the values and principles set out in [those] basic documents, and notably expect Serbia and BIH to cooperate fully with ICTY." And we'll monitor these efforts.
Georgia and Ukraine paragraphs follow. Again, it was very important in Georgia-Ukraine terms, which begins in 37, that we get this strong; nobody excluded open door language in 29.
And then we have NATO-Russia, we have NATO-EU, we have the CFE Treaty, all standard in NATO communiqués.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Forty-three.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yes, 43 is new. Forty-three is new, and it's important, and it reflects our concern about frozen conflicts. And it talks about the regional conflicts, but what's most important is the second line there, "Our nations support the territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and the Republic of Moldova. Those of you who know that part of the world know why we want to say that.
Anything else there, Dan?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: That's important, especially in light of the question you asked about Georgia. This stuff, taken together, is pretty strong considering the news and your question about Russia.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Forty-four, we have -- this is arms control. You'll see for the first time, I think in my memory anyway, we have a strong statement about North Korea and a strong statement about Iran. This goes to our larger effort to ensure that NATO is a place where we talk not just about the security challenges where NATO is the center actor, but also other security challenges around the world where we have shared interests.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: This is actually very important, because NATO -- remember how many papers were written and how many debates were had about NATO in area and out of area? NATO is not a global alliance, it's a transatlantic alliance. But it increasingly has global missions, global partners and global capacity, global reach. And this is part of NATO getting its mind around the problems which constitute a potential threat to transatlantic security, which are no longer located in what used to be the Soviet Union. It's now problems in Iran, problems in North Korea. That's what NATO is focused on.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Some have argued that NATO had no business having an opinion about North Korea and having opinion about Iran. Here you have all 26 saying this is of concern to us and we are all bound by what we are doing together in the UNSC. So please do look at that, and will help us to keep these issues strong here at NATO going forward.
Energy security, another issue that is in our founding charter, in NATO's founding treaty, but which we haven't talked about for a long, long time in this house. Paragraph 45, a very strong tasking to the council, to us who work there all the time, "to consult on immediate risks in the field of energy security in order to define those areas where NATO can add value to safeguard the security interests of allies, and upon request, assist national and international efforts." So this is NATO saying there are aspects of energy security that are our business, and we're going to work on this together.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Again, in the context of all the discussion of the strategic implications of energy in Eurasia, and the gas cutoffs, this is seen as NATO not writing off, but getting itself into the whole question of security. It doesn't mean energy policy is now going to be decided at NATO, but energy security is something NATO discussed in the Cold War, and now is back looking at.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: And again, when you negotiate something like this with 26 allies, this is the floor of what allies believe and have agreed to, and it gives us a way to springboard forward. And you see all the taskings in here, the things we're going to be working on going forward.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Sorry to go into the wonkish detail, but --
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: That's what we're paid for.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, it's also, the details add up, and then all of a sudden quantity becomes quality, and you have a new NATO, and people like you say, well, when did this happen? You know, through things like this, over the past few years. And then you wake up expand your NATO.
Q How long was this worked on at the staff level?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: A few weeks.
Q So did anybody -- any of the leaders give the President unsolicited advice on what he should talk to Maliki about? Was that kind of in the backdrop at all?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I think a lot of leaders were interested in the President's speech yesterday. It's his first trip to Europe since the midterm elections -- wanted to hear how he would express the world and NATO's place in it, and that was one of the strongest speeches on the relationship between NATO and our values and the freedom agenda. And it was a positive speech, but also an ambitious one. And I think that did affect the discussions.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: You might ask Secretary Rice on the plane; our understanding is the foreign ministers talked quite a bit about Iraq.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I can't talk about the dinner, I wasn't there. I got an extensive dump, but I don't like second hand, I'm a little wary of it. You can tackle her.
END 1:50 P.M. (Local)