NATO’s De Hoop Scheffer Stresses Cooperation with Caucasus

Federal Information and News Dispatch, Inc.
State Department
November 10, 2004

NATO’s De Hoop Scheffer Stresses Cooperation with Caucasus;
Secretary-general visits Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan

TEXT: NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer visited Georgia,
Armenia and Azerbaijan November 4-5 to demonstrate the alliance’s
commitment to expanding cooperation with the region, according to a
NATO press release.

The secretary-general stressed that in the face of terrorism and the
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, developing a network
for international cooperation was “a strategic necessity.” The
Caucasus region is a crucial part of that network, he said.

Following is a NATO press release:

(begin text)

NATO Update

10 November 2004

CAUCASUS VISIT FOCUSES ON PARTNERSHIP

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer visited Georgia, Armenia
and Azerbaijan from 4-5 November, to demonstrate the Alliance’s
commitment to expanding cooperation with the region.

The visit came as NATO is seeking to deepen cooperation with its
partner countries in Central Asia and the Caucasus.

The Secretary General was accompanied by NATO’s newly-appointed
Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, Ambassador
Robert Simmons.

A lot on offer

Mr. De Hoop Scheffer and Ambassador Simmons met with the Heads of
State and top officials in the three countries to discuss how
co-operation could be expanded in key areas such as defence and
military reform.

“There is a lot on offer, as well in areas that many people would not
immediately associate with NATO. Partnership projects range from
disaster preparedness, to defence conversion, to scientific and
technical cooperation,” Mr. De Hoop Scheffer said in a speech at the
Yerevan State University in Armenia.

The Secretary General stressed that in the face of terrorism and the
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, developing a network
for international cooperation was “a strategic necessity”. The
Caucasus region is a crucial part of that network, he said.

Mr. De Hoop Scheffer called on the countries to show political will
and good faith and find solutions to the conflicts in the region. He
stressed that NATO had no direct role in these negotiations, but
fully supported the work of the Organization for Security and
Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and other actors involved.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs,
U.S. Department of State.)

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