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'Group of Wise Men' now includes Baltic States

  • 2009-08-07
  • TBT Staff in cooperation with the Latvian and Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
TALLINN - On August 3, the NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen named theexperts nominated by NATO member countries to work with Secretary General on anew strategic concept for further public consultation within member countries.Among the 12 experts appointed by Secretary General is a Latvian candidatejointly nominated by the Baltic States, Aivis Ronis, former Ambassador ofLatvia to the U.S.and former Permanent Representative to NATO.

Foreign Minister Maris Riekstins emphasizes that the appointment of Ronis toa group of such importance is an achievement of Latvia'sforeign policy and of all three Baltic States.The inclusion of a Latvian representative in the group of experts placesparticular responsibility on Latviato represent the vision of all Baltic Stateswith regard to further development of the Atlantic Alliance.

This is of a particular importance to Latviaand to the other Baltic States because the Strategic Concept is one of NATO'skey strategic documents to be developed after Latvia joined NATO in 2004. Thedevelopment of the document was determined by new threats to security, changesin strategic environment and a considerable enlargement of the Alliance by accepting new member countries.

On April 4, the NATO Heads of State and Government during their meeting in Strasbourg/ Kehl resolved to draft a new NATO StrategicConcept aimed at defining the long term role of the Alliance which faced the new securityconditions of the 21st century. The new concept is to be developed until thenext meeting of the Heads of State and Government in Portugal.

The current Strategic Concept was approved in 1999. The development of thenew Strategic Concept will be lead by the NATO Secretary General Anders FoghRasmussen who on 1 August this year took over the post from formerSecretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet expressed satisfaction over theacceptance of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania's common candidate intothe NATO Group of Wise Men. "The compiling of a new strategic concept for NATOis an important process that involves many issues of significance for the Baltic States. For this reason, the acceptance of theBaltic nations' common candidate into NATO's so-called 'Group of Wise Men' is asignificant event that creates a wonderful situation for Estonia, Latvia andLithuania to continue close co-operation and NATO-themed consultations," saidthe Estonian foreign minister.