Castelgandolfo, Aug. 28, 2006 (CNA) - Pope Benedict XVI visited with German Chancellor Angela Merkel today at his summer residence, Castelgandolfo. The two reportedly discussed current situations in the Middle East and the mounting tensions surrounding Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Merkel told Deutsche Welle that she and Benedict, “had a very intense exchange on world politics, especially on the Middle East, but also on how the international community should deal with Iran.”
"I was longing to pay this visit to the pope before he comes to Germany in September," Merkel said prior to the visit. "I'm very glad that it will happen now…I'm also here to express the respect of all Germans which I represent as German chancellor."
The Chancellor told reporters that the hour-long audience was, "very impressive."
Merkel has had one prior meeting with the Pope, when she was head of the Christian Democratic Union Party, a party with strong ties to German Catholics.
While Merkel was raised in a Protestant northern German family – her mother is a Protestant minister – she and Benedict are said to get along very well.
“The pope is a great leader of Christianity to which my protestant faith also belongs,” Merkel said.
Merkel, whose educational background is in physics, reportedly maintains a strong Christian faith. “I pray because it gives me an opportunity to contemplate,” Deutsche Welle reported her as saying. “Our faith makes us aware of the fact that many things are beyond the powers of human beings. But the Christian faith also moves the dignity of human life onto centre stage giving the religion a crucial role in present-day life.”
(ANSA) - Vatican City, August 28 - German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Pope Benedict XVI discussed the Middle East and Iran during a 40-minute meeting on Monday at the pontiff's summer residence outside Rome .
Merkel, the daughter of a Protestant pastor, also voiced support for the pope's view that Europe's Christian roots should be recognised in a constitution for the 25-nation EU .
Merkel, who now heads Germany's conservative Christian Democratic party, was wearing a dark suit and a silver necklace as she met the German pontiff for the first time as Chancellor .
"We talked intensely about world politics, above all the situation in the Middle East and what the international community is doing with Iran," she told journalists as she left the lakeside papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo .
The pope has made a number of appeals for a truce since the start of the recent conflict between Hezbollah and Israel in Lebanon .
He has not yet said anything publicly about Iran and its controversial nuclear programme .
Merkel's visit came two weeks ahead of Benedict's scheduled trip to the German region of Bavaria, where he was born and where he was archbishop for four years .
The chancellor was accompanied in Castel Gandolfo by a six-member delegation including a top official who will be in charge of security during the pope's Sept.9-14 visit .
Germany is to take over the European Union presidency at the end of the year .
Merkel indicated that the future of the bloc had been a key subject of her conversation with the pope .
"We spoke about freedom of religion and the role of Europe. I underlined my opinion that we need a European identity in the form of a constitutional treaty .
"I believe this treaty should be linked to Christianity and God because Christianity was decisive in the formation of Europe," she said .
After long discussions, a committee of European politicians headed by former French president Valery Giscard d'Estaing, decided against mentioning Europe's Christian heritage in a draft EU constitution .
Ratification of that constitution was knocked off course when France and the Netherlands rejected it in referendums in 2005. European leaders are now looking for a way to get the project back on track .
Merkel did not meet any Italian politicians during her visit, which was referred to as a private one. After leaving the papal residence, she stepped into a black Maserati and was whisked off to Ciampino airport .
Meanwhile, in Berlin president of the lower house of Germany's parliament has invited the pope to address the chamber on March 25 next year, on the anniversary of the EU's birth .
German Chancellor, Pope discuss Europe, Middle East
Catholic World News
August 28, 2006
Aug. 28 (CWNews.com) - Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) met on August 28 with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. After their 45-minute conversation, the German leader told reporters that the "very intense" discussion had focused on the problems facing Europe and the Middle East.
Merkel said that one important theme of her talk with the Pontiff was the question of religious freedom, which they discussed in different context: in terms of the conflict in the Middle East and also in terms of contemporary European secularism.
"I explained to the Pope that I favor the idea of a European identity founded on a constitutional accord, and in my view, it should be tied to Christianity and to God, because Christianity formed Europe in a decisive manner," said Merkel.
The German chancellor, who is the daughter of a Protestant minister, comes from a background in the Christian Democratic Union. And her views on European identity will take on new importance next year, as Germany assumes the rotating presidency of the European Union in 2007.
The talks at Castel Gandolfo also included some discussion of Iran's aspirations to nuclear power, Merkel told the press. She said that they spoke about how the world should react to Iran's ambitions, and to the influence of the Islamic state on Hezbollah's aggressive presence in Lebanon.
Merkel said that her exchange of views with the Pope "will continue in Munich" when the Pope visits Bavaria in September. She will meet with the Holy Father officially on September 9, the day of his arrival.
The audience late Monday morning took place in cordial and informal atmosphere, according to informed observers. Among the German officials who accompanied the chancellor was Christoph Heusgen, the diplomat who will handle security arrangements for the papal trip to Bavaria.
Et dixit Dominus ad me falso prophetae vaticinantur in nomine meo non misi eos et non praecepi eis neque locutus sum ad eos visionem mendacem et divinationem et fraudulentiam et seductionem cordis sui prophetant vobis.
Speech from Benita Ferrero-Waldner
Institute for Human Sciences, Boston University Boston, 12 September 2005 - SPEECH/05/500
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me thank the Institute for Human Sciences at Boston University and Professor Michalski for this invitation to address you tonight. I have known Professor Michalski for many years through his work at the Institute für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen in Vienna, and it was a pleasure to accept his kind invitation. My central thesis tonight is that our world is changing irrevocably, and if the US and EU want to protect our fundamental values we must work together. The transatlantic alliance must be strong enough to enable us to achieve that. I will structure my remarks around 4 points, first, the current state of EU-US relations; second the EU's ability to act as a major international power; third which powers will dominate the 21st century; and fourth the value and necessity of multilateral organisations, particularly a reformed UN.
1) EU-US relations today
Watching the footage of Hurricane Katrina and the almost apocalyptic scenes from a flooded and virtually-abandoned New Orleans we Europeans were once again reminded of the depth of the ties that unite us to Americans. Beyond the natural shock and intense sympathy for any natural disaster on this scale, we felt an additional almost instinctive desire to help.
So in response to the disaster, for the first time ever in the history of European civil protection coordination, all participating countries have offered assistance. Under the European Commission’s supervision, help has been mobilised from across Europe – a crisis intervention team from Austria; tents and first aid kits from France; blankets, meals and pumps from the UK.
It seems painfully inadequate given the enormous need, but the underlying message is clear – we feel your suffering and we are here for you - just as Americans have been there for Europeans at difficult moments of our history.
Yesterday was the fourth anniversary of 9/11. That tragedy also produced a moment of great solidarity across the Atlantic, embodied in Le Monde’s headline, "Nous sommes tous Américains" - we are all Americans. For me, that epitomizes EU-US relations - it is a special relationship, we feel for each other as citizens united by the same fundamental values.
Our relations have had their ups and downs since 9/11, but I can confidently say we are now on an upward path. And this is what both EU and US citizens want – a survey of transatlantic trends released last week by the German Marshall Fund found that 80% favour greater cooperation between the EU and the US.
EU leaders share President Bush's emphasis on combating terrorism, bolstering homeland security, and promoting democracy, the rule of law and human rights. The declarations of the last EU-US Summit demonstrate how much we're working together on our common priorities, including the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, regional conflicts, and the threat posed by non-state actors.
Neither one of us can go it alone - we both recognise that the challenges are too great for either of us to deal with individually. As President Bush said at his inauguration, "All that we seek to achieve in the world requires that America and Europe remain close partners".
I agree. And as the international capabilities of the EU have grown, it is only natural that the EU-US agenda increasingly focuses on the world beyond our borders.
Our approach may sometimes differ, but we are working together successfully around the world, in some countries turning those very differences to our mutual advantage. We are talking to each other more and more - sometimes formally, like our strategic dialogue on East Asia, sometimes informally, like our daily contacts over Ukraine, Lebanon, and Gaza disengagement.
Our views on many of today’s most pressing issues are the same – for example the need to encourage China to take its place in the established international rules-based order. We have discovered the benefits of complementarity, in the Broader Middle East, in Iran, in Afghanistan, Georgia, Belarus and elsewhere. Perhaps most importantly, we agree on the need to discuss issues with one another upfront, at the stage of policy formation - before taking action.
The EU is a key partner for the US in achieving its triple goals of combating terrorism, promoting democracy and bolstering homeland security. Some people in Europe think the US is an unreformed unilateralist, only grudgingly reaching out to its partners. I strongly disagree – that is certainly not my experience in working with Secretary Rice and other members of the Bush Administration, and it does not reflect the close relationship between President Bush and President Barroso. We would not be cooperating so effectively if the US were not fully committed to working with us.
That brings me to my second point.
2) The EU as a major international power
There are also those on this side of the Atlantic who are sceptical that Europe can be a useful partner for the US – who believe the EU will never be anything other than an economic giant but a political dwarf. This school of thought, which I hope is dwindling in both influence and numbers, seems to view the EU's development beyond a Common Market as an unwelcome development, as if the EU should have stopped its political clock in the 1970s. And, unfortunately, the confusion over what the "no" votes on the European constitution in the Netherlands and France meant will only confirm their opinion. So let me take this opportunity to address the reality of EU foreign policy.
First, the EU is not in crisis. It is true that the “no” votes were a disappointment – the Constitutional Treaty includes many useful innovations to make the enlarged EU work better and bring policy closer to our citizens. But our institutions continue to function without it - although we also have not gone further forward. However, coupled with June's lack of agreement on the EU's future budget, it was right to decide on a “period of reflection” to address the unease felt by some of our citizens about the EU's future.
There is still overwhelming support for the EU, but our citizens now take for granted the most impressive achievements – most importantly, 60 years of peace on our continent. So we politicians must ensure that today’s EU also tackles the current concerns of our citizens - the economy, jobs, quality of life and security.
To maintain our position as an economic giant we must increase our competitiveness - through better, more efficient regulation including deregulation and more focus on education, research and innovation. At the same time we must maintain the core of the European way of life – our member states will be meeting next month to discuss the sustainability of our social model. This is the right answer to globalisation, not cutting ourselves off from the world. We need to be moulding global trends, and influencing the shape of the 21st century world order.
We are already a global actor – I know from my daily experience that when we talk, people listen. We are the world's largest economic bloc, and the biggest donor of development assistance. We use our foreign policy tools – aid, trade, and economic agreements - to promote human rights and good governance in every corner of the globe. And for those who say we are no military power – more than 50,000 European soldiers are currently keeping the peace and promoting stability across the world.
But we need to do more to match our political clout to our economic power. And we know that both the EU's citizens and our partners throughout the world demand we play a greater role internationally. So a large part of our reflection on the EU's future will focus on how we can do more and do it better.
In the meantime, the EU remains a committed international player. Take our involvement in the peace process in Aceh. We are spear-heading a 230-strong monitoring mission which will be on the ground just 3 days from now. We brokered the August peace deal putting an end to 30 years of bloody conflict, and together with 5 members of ASEAN we are now staffing and funding a mission to monitor the decommissioning of arms and relocation of police and military.
We are also engaged in Afghanistan, where we are providing significant financial assistance to next weekend’s elections and have sent the largest international election observation mission. And we are playing an active role in Darfur, Iran, and Gaza. I could go on.
My point is that whatever our internal difficulties we are still in business. And we will remain a committed and engaged partner for the US and others as we work through our internal challenges.
Public diplomacy is vitally important.
Within the EU it is clear that we have to do more to capture the public imagination in an age where the EU's original purpose – peace - has lost its immediacy. We must convince the public economic reform is necessary to maintain our standard of living; enlargement brings us enormous economic and security benefits; and innovation in our social model is essential to avoid being outpaced by global competition.
Public diplomacy is also important for the transatlantic relationship. The transatlantic trends survey showed that EU and US publics view each other in the same way as a year ago. In other words, the significant improvement in EU-US relations at official level is not reflected in public opinion. Both the US and EU governments must do more to present our citizens with the new reality of our relationship. Because public opinion matters – ours cannot just be a relationship of elites or we seriously undermine its very basis.
Let's publicise the success stories which reveal the true strength of our relations, like having two of the most integrated economies on earth. Our bilateral trade relationship is the largest in the world - every day we trade more than €1 billion worth of immensely diverse goods and services. As many as 14 million workers in the EU and the US owe their job to our commercial ties, including more than 100,000 here in Massachusetts. Yes, there's the occasional trade dispute, but they only account for 2% of our $2.5 trillion economic and trade relationship. An unsung success of last June's EU-US Summit was the EU-US Economic Initiative, designed to remove further obstacles to efficient operation of the transatlantic marketplace.
But there is more to this debate than simply feeling good about our relationship.
3) Who will dominate the 21st Century?
Recently a number of analysts - including at least two Americans (Rifkin, Reid) - have suggested that the future belongs to Europe. They believe the EU is best placed to meet the challenges of globalization in the 21st Century. My analysis is different – not only because I realise it might be risky for a European to stand here in Boston, not far from the beginnings of the American Revolution, and suggest that the “American Century” is drawing to a close!
No, my thesis is that the world is changing to such an extent that we will need to draw on the strengths of both the EU and the US if we want to define the international order of the 21st century. We will only wield sufficient influence if we act together, and we must build a transatlantic alliance strong enough to do that.
Today, the EU and US have unrivalled influence in terms of relative wealth and power. Power relationships in the 21st century may be very different. I don't only mean the emerging economic powers, like China, India, and possibly others. There are other threats: energy security – look at the current price of oil; global health risks – HIV/AIDS, malaria and new pandemics like SARS or Avian flu; entrenched poverty – sub-Saharan Africa has been getting poorer not richer; and environmental problems – climate change, major natural disasters like the tsunamis and Hurricane Katrina, and the mix of fire and floods in Europe this summer. The world’s demographics are changing and there are generational challenges to us all. Plus the "hard" security threats of violent extremists, international terrorism and international crime, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and trafficking in people, drugs and arms.
Another major issue which will dominate the 21st Century, or at least this part of it, is relations between different cultures or civilisations. This encompasses not only the Islamic world and the West, but many other cultures and religions. I do not subscribe to the Huntington belief in an inevitable “clash of civilisations”, but nevertheless we must improve understanding between different cultures. Last week at the EU-India summit this topic drew a lot of attention, as it will at the UN summit this week. I want to explore innovative ways of pursuing this discussion - in the Middle East, India and Indonesia, and through cooperation with the media.
To summarize - the 21st Century will confront us with an even more complex world than today's. I come back to the title of tonight's speech, "Building a Transatlantic Alliance for the 21st Century". The US and EU need to work together to create an international order that will protect our interests and principles of democracy and freedom. And to do that, we need to encourage other powers to work with us, and sign up to that international order.
4) The value of multilateralism and a reformed UN
For that we need what we in the EU refer to as “effective multilateralism”, a rules-based, inclusive international order. The EU works through many multilateral organisations, including the WTO, whose Doha round will make a major contribution to development, and regional multilateral bodies like the OSCE.
But the only truly universal multilateral institution is the United Nations. With its inclusive membership and worldwide legitimacy, it remains the most important arena for advancing common solutions to our common problems.
So it is the perfect starting point for building and consolidating the kind of international order we will need to protect our way of life and values. All the more so as the UN's values are our own – let's remember the US is the home of modern multilateralism, as the sixtieth anniversary of the UN Charter’s signature in San Francisco reminds us.
I believe that both the EU and the US, perhaps especially in the wake of recent events, recognise the value of international solidarity and compromise, in return for the international legitimacy that confers. And there is increasing recognition that multilateral action, involving large parts of the international community, is the only way forward if our goal is to find solutions that work.
And make no mistake – as the balance of power changes in the coming decades, we will need the support of others.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are on the eve of a major UN Summit, one of the biggest gatherings of world leaders ever. I cannot overstate the significance of this occasion – at which we will agree the first serious reform of the UN’s 60-year history.
It embodies just the sort of grand bargain between north and south, rich and poor, that is necessary to establish a solid framework for international relations in the decades to come. Choosing development, security and human rights as the focus of the debate reflected a new recognition of their interdependence - without peace there is no development, without development no peace, and without human rights, neither.
The other major issue is management reform, which for obvious reasons has dominated the news headlines recently. Given our desire to see the system function effectively, the EU would be the first to say that the UN needs an organisational re-fit to equip it for the challenges ahead. But above all we are clear that the organisation’s original promise - anchoring international peace and security, promoting sustainable development and defending human rights and human security - remains as valid today as 60 years ago.
The lengthy and difficult negotiations over the Summit statement are drawing to a close. I hope the result will be ambitious and concrete. It must live up to expectations – we need a UN better equipped to deal with the complex challenges to development, peace and security and human rights.
But the real work begins after the Summit – as we translate the commitments into action. This is where the EU and US can really make a difference. Together we have a proud history as the driving force behind multilateralism. As the world’s two richest, most democratic, and most powerful entities, it is our duty to continue this leadership role. By pooling our diplomatic power and resources, we can lead the world in building a new international architecture.
One of the major successes of this Summit will be the creation of a Peacebuilding Commission. This will plug the gap between post-conflict assistance and longer-term stabilisation and development. Getting post-conflict states up and running is a complicated matter. Too often there is not enough continuity between the different post-conflict activities and international aid: peacekeepers funded by one party, demobilisation by another, reconstruction and institution-building by yet another. But given that half of all countries emerging from conflict relapse back into violence within five years, it is vital that we find a way of improving our performance.
That is why the EU and US have been fully engaged in the discussions for setting up this new body.
The EU has longstanding experience in providing support for a wide spectrum of peacebuilding activities around the world, ranging from de-mining and social rehabilitation initiatives in Ethiopia to promoting the constitutional dialogue in Nepal. And we are ready and fully committed to actively contribute to the Peacebuilding Commission's work.
Together with the US we must work hard to ensure it can carry out its mandate effectively.
We also have to do more to protect human rights. Abuse of fundamental rights is one of the clear indicators for future conflict – so improving our ability to act in this field is not only a moral obligation but also addresses our security concerns. The present Human Rights Commission is no longer fully up to the job, and reforming the UN’s human rights architecture is crucial.
Together the EU and US must push for a system which takes rights seriously, because this is about people – the prisoner at risk of torture, the child forced into armed combat, the woman threatened by cruelty and abuse. We must also put human security to the fore – adopting a modern concept of sovereignty where states are responsible for protecting their people, not just their borders. We want the Summit to decide on a new principal Human Rights body, the Human Rights Council. The Summit must make clear the UN’s undivided commitment to human rights and human security – empowering women; helping states meet their international obligations; assisting human rights defenders and children in armed conflict; and sounding the alarm when violations occur.
And we must also be more serious about development. Economic prosperity is not the preserve of the developed world. Eradicating poverty and promoting development are moral imperatives which the world’s richest nations are bound to address.
European Commission President Barroso recently compared the modern scourges of poverty, hunger and disease to slavery 200 years ago. “Slavery” he said, “was then considered an inevitability; a natural part of the order of things. But that was wrong.” Equally, it is wrong for us today to think of poverty as a fact of life. We can and must fight against it.
That is why reconfirming our commitment to the Millennium Development Goals and setting target dates for their achievement is so vital. It is mainly a question of mustering the necessary political will. The EU is already the world’s biggest donor, providing 55% of worldwide official development assistance between the Commission and Member States, worth $43 billion in 2004. In May this year we committed ourselves to further and substantially increase this amount – by 2010 we will provide nearly an extra $26 billion, and by 2015 we will reach the recommended 0.7% of gross national income (GNI).
There is a clear link between poverty and political instability. Failed states pose one of the biggest security risks of our day. So in addressing the causes of conflict and misgovernment in developing countries we are also acting to defeat terrorism.
In tackling poverty we also move a step closer to human security. But again – this cannot just be rhetoric. It requires developing countries to tackle corruption, reform justice systems and build transparent, efficient institutions. Both developing and donor countries must make serious efforts to translate dollar and euro signs on paper into real and sustainable progress in our partner countries of the South.
If the US, the word’s second biggest donor, were to join us in this commitment and follow the EU’s lead on increasing ODA, the impact on poverty and security would be tremendous.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Only last week the UN Secretary General pointed out that “the American people ... have always been the most generous in responding to disasters in other parts of the world”. That generosity of spirit is quintessentially American, as is the exercise of moral authority and world leadership at critical moments in world affairs.
Even as the US is still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Katrina I am confident that it is capable of exerting that moral leadership again in the cause of a more just world order, one which also holds in trust the values that underpin both US and EU societies.
The EU will support the US in this quest. After all, as my 4 points have illustrated, we are natural partners in seeking to build a consensus around the values of democracy, human rights, prosperity and security for all. The EU will be an increasingly useful partner for the US as we strengthen our capacity to act internationally. The world is changing rapidly and we must unite together to shape international affairs in the 21st century. And to do so, we must be the driving force behind creating an effective United Nations.
None of this will be easy - we will have our work cut out to build the international order we wish to see prevail in the 21st Century. But acting together, drawing others in by working through the United Nations, we have the best chance to succeed. Which is why our task today and in the months and years to come must be to build the Transatlantic Alliance - stronger than ever!
Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner for External Relations & European Neighbourhood Policy
Council of Europe
4-5 October 2001, Moscow (Russian Federation)
Resolution No 1 on Combating International Terrorism
THE MINISTERS participating in the 24th Conference of European Ministers of Justice (Moscow, October 2001),
Condemning the heinous terrorist attacks in the United States of America on 11 September 2001;
Deploring the loss of life and the injuries suffered by thousands of innocent people as a result of these attacks as well as those in other regions of the world;
Expressing their deeply felt sympathy with the victims and their families;
Reaffirming their determination to combat all forms of terrorism;
Welcoming the declarations and decisions of international organisations condemning terrorism, in particular the Declaration adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 12 September 2001 and the Decision taken on 21 September 2001, and expressing their full support for the measures envisaged in this Decision;
Bearing in mind Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1534 (2001) on democracies facing terrorism;
Convinced of the need for a multidisciplinary approach to the problem of terrorism, involving all relevant legal aspects;
Resolved to play their part in States' efforts to reinforce the fight against terrorism and to increase the security of citizens, in a spirit of solidarity and on the basis of the common values to which the Council of Europe is firmly committed: Rule of Law, human rights and pluralist democracy;
Recognising the need to involve and motivate the public in this fight, including relevant organisational, social and educational measures;
Convinced of the urgent need for increased international co-operation,
CALL UPON member and observer States of the Council of Europe
a. to become Parties as soon as possible to the relevant international treaties relating to terrorism, in particular the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism of 9 December 1999;
b. to participate actively in the elaboration of the draft United Nations comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism; and
c. to become Parties as soon as possible to the Statute of the International Criminal Court;
INVITE the Committee of Ministers urgently to adopt all normative measures considered necessary for assisting States to prevent, detect, prosecute and punish acts of terrorism, such as:
a. reviewing existing international instruments - conventions and recommendations, in particular the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism - and domestic law, with a view to improving and facilitating co-operation in the prosecution and punishment of acts of terrorism so that the perpetrators of such acts can speedily be brought to justice;
b. drafting model laws in this field, and codes of conduct in particular for law enforcement agencies;
c. reviewing existing or, where necessary, adopting new rules concerning:
i. the prosecution and trial of crimes of an international character, with a view to avoiding and solving conflicts of jurisdiction and, in this context, facilitating States' co-operation with international criminal courts and tribunals;
ii. the improvement and reinforcement of exchanges of information between law enforcement agencies;
iii. the improvement of the protection of witnesses and other persons participating in proceedings involving persons accused of terrorist crimes;
iv. the improvement of the protection, support and compensation of victims of terrorist acts and their families;
v. the reinforcement of the prevention and punishment of acts of terrorism committed against or by means of computer and telecommunication systems ("cyber-terrorism");
d. depriving terrorists of any financial resources which would allow them to commit acts of terrorism, including amendments to the law, in conformity with Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001);
e. reinforcing, through adequate financial appropriation, the work of Council of Europe bodies involved in the fight against money laundering, in particular the Committee evaluating States' anti-money laundering measures (PC-R-EV);
f. facilitating the identification of persons by means of appropriate identity, civil status and other documents, as well as by other means, including the possibility of using genetic [biometric] prints (DNA);
g. ensuring the safety and control of dangerous or potentially dangerous substances;
DECIDE to remain in close contact on these matters, in particular in order to review the steps taken to give effect to this Resolution, at the latest on the occasion of their next Conference.
President Bush on August 16, 2004 announced the most comprehensive restructuring of U.S. military forces overseas since the end of the Korean War. By closing bases no longer needed to meet Cold War threats that have ended, this new initiative will bring home many Cold War-era forces while deploying more flexible and rapidly deployable capabilities in strategic locations around the world.
Taking advantage of 21 st century military technologies, the plan will increase U.S. military capabilities and combat power in every part of the world; improve our cooperation with, and our ability to defend, allies; and strengthen our ability to deter aggression - all while reducing the number of U.S. forces stationed at overseas bases.
The plan will make America safer by better preparing our military to address the new dangers associated with rogue nations, global terrorism, and weapons of mass destruction.
Over the next ten years, the President's plan will close hundreds of U.S. facilities overseas and bring home about 60,000 to 70,000 uniformed personnel and approximately 100,000 family members and civilian employees.
The plan will give our service members more time on the home front and fewer moves over a career. It will give military spouses fewer job changes and offer greater stability for their families. And it will save the taxpayers money, by closing hundreds of unneeded facilities around the world.
Goals of Our Plan for a 21 st Century Military
Expand U.S. defense relationships with allies and build new partnerships. Posture changes will increase our ability to carry out our defense commitments more effectively. The U.S. presence will be tailored to optimally balance our 21 st century military requirements, our relationships with allies and partners, local conditions, and the impact of a U.S. presence on host nations.
Develop flexibility to contend with uncertainty. Global threats to our national security can defy prediction. Therefore, the United States will develop new and expanded security relationships to emphasize flexibility in force posture. Provide for both a regional and global forward presence. The demands of new threats require forces deployed overseas to be ready for missions anywhere in the world, regardless of where the forces are based - while we must be prepared to act regionally and locally and to maintain our commitments to NATO and other allies.
Enable rapid power projection. Our overseas force realignment must improve rapid response capabilities for distant contingencies, because our forces will not likely fight where they are stationed. This requires an updated transport infrastructure to facilitate movement of forces, prepositioned equipment along transport routes, and lean command structures for deployable operations.
Focus on capabilities instead of numbers. Leveraging U.S. advantages in speed, reach, precision, knowledge, and combat power is now the defining concept for military action. The number of forward-based forces in a given area is no longer an accurate representation of the effective military capability that the U.S. can bring to bear.
Our military global posture, developed to defend against Cold War adversaries, is not optimized to meet today's threats to our national security. Following World War II and the Korean War, our global posture focused on threats to specific regions and tailored our military presence to those regions. Our Cold War posture was established with the certainty that we knew our adversaries and where potential battles would be fought. But with the demise of the Soviet Union , once-familiar threats gave way to less predictable dangers. The lessons of the last 15 years teach us that we often send our forces to unpredictable places. The Cold War strategy of placing heavy forces in specific locations to defend against a known adversary needs to be changed to more effectively deal with today's threats.
It is no longer relevant to measure America's war-fighting capability by the number of troops and equipment in a particular country or region. During the 1990s, our military began a transformation from the industrial age to the information age. In this age, reach, stealth, precision, knowledge, and combat power, and not just the size of forces, allow us to dominate the battlespace. We learned that small, highly trained and networked units, platforms, and even individual warriors can have an effect on the battlefield that was previously reserved for much larger formations. Today, one high-tech ship or tank or aircraft can deliver the same combat power that once required ten ships or tanks or aircraft.
The Bush Administration is working to transform our forces to more effectively confront the dangers of the 21 st century and better protect America and our vital interests. Early in 2001, the Bush Administration adopted a new defense strategy that recognized the changing nature of warfare and the need for the Department of Defense to transform its institutions, its way of doing business, and its structures, both within the United States and abroad, in order to meet the challenges of the new era.
The 9/11 attacks magnified the new era of uncertainty that the Administration had previously recognized and had begun to prepare for in the 2001 defense strategy. Operations in Afghanistan -- and the global war on terror more broadly -- brought to the forefront the need to conduct a strategy-based review of our global defense posture. That review, conducted in close consultation with Congress and our allies , has served as the cornerstone of the President's defense transformation agenda.
Outline of Changes
Europe: Our efforts will support NATO's own transformation. We aim to eliminate Cold War infrastructures that are no longer relevant to today's security needs, replacing them with more flexible, deployable forces and headquarters. Our future posture will contain forward forces that are rapidly deployable for early entry into conflict both in Europe and beyond.
Heavy forces designed for a land war in Europe will return to the U.S.; they will be replaced by advanced, deployable capabilities and airborne units, supported by advanced training facilities and high-capacity mobility infrastructure. Ground, air, and naval headquarters will be streamlined and consolidated. Special forces, both forward-stationed and rotational, will increase in importance; they will be positioned for ease of movement both within and outside of Europe .
"The war [against terrorism] we fight today is more than a military conflict," the president said. "It is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century. On one side are those who believe in the values of freedom and moderation ... and on the other side are those driven by the values of tyranny and extremism,"
President Bush says that the Sept. 11 attack on the United States marks a new kind of war, the first war of the 21st century.
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
Updated: 11 Jun 2003
GARMISCH, Germany, June 11, 2003 - Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld had harsh words for the International Criminal Court and a Belgium law that allows anyone to prosecute anyone for war crimes.
The secretary spoke at a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies here. He said the Belgian law is one example where nations are "eroding sovereignty."
Rumsfeld said that the world must strengthen organizations that allow nations to cooperate against a threat, "we must take care to not damage the core principle that undergirds the international system - the principle of state sovereignty," he said.
The secretary said he sees respect for the principle of sovereignty eroding. "We see it - in my view - in the International Criminal Courts claim of authority to try the citizens of countries that have not consented to ICC jurisdiction," he said. "We see it in the new Belgian law purporting to give Belgian courts 'universal jurisdiction' over alleged war crimes anywhere in the world."
Rumsfeld said that charges have already been filed against U.S. Central Command's Army Gen. Tommy Franks. He called the law "dangerous" and said it has turned Belgium's legal system into "a platform for what I believe will be divisive, politicized lawsuits against officials of her NATO allies."
Under the law, suits are pending against former President George H.W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Colin Powell - all arising from their leadership in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. "I suppose if George Marshall were alive, there would be suits against George Marshall in the Belgian courts," he said.
He said erosion of sovereignty will erode the responsibilities nations have. "Too often the erosion of sovereignty gives states an excuse to take the easy way out - by blaming globalization, or punting responsibility to supranational organizations instead of taking responsibility for problems that originate from poor national governance," he said.
Terrorists take advantage of this erosion and look for failed states that do not control their borders as places for their headquarters, training areas and planning sites, he said. "States have the responsibility to govern areas within their border," he said.
"We need to be able to hold states accountable for their performances. Those who want to push sovereignty away can't have it both ways: Either states are responsible for the governance of their countries or they are not."
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