By Hani Al-Bahrani
BRUSSELS, Oct 12 (KUNA) -- NATO has evolved from an Alliance focused on a singular threat, to an Alliance based on security partnership between the 28 members and the rest of the world, thanks to the military intervention in Libya, a senior NATO official said here.
"The Libya operation was a logical outflow of the view that we need to have partnerships with countries around the world. NATO would not have been intervened in Libya without the Arab League making this request to the UN Security Council," said Ivo H. Daalder, United States Ambassador to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization).
His remarks were during a briefing on "US Policy on NATO"; as part of the US-NATO Program for Opinion Makers from the Middle East, held at NATO Headquarters last night.
In a response to a question by Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), Ambassador Daalder said, "NATO is a source of stability in an unpredictable world. You become a source of stability by being ready; to be able to act if a crisis demands that action." "Who wouldve though in November 2010 in Lisbon that four months later, NATO would lead a military operation in North Africa (Libya), under a UN mandate and at the behest of the Arab League... No one." NATOs 2010 Lisbon summit adopted a new "Strategic Concept", the alliance's new ten-year plan following the expiration of the previous plan adopted at the 1999 Washington summit.
"Sound legal base of our intervention was available. Thats why we intervened," he noted.
"The United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan and Morocco not only supported the operation, but also participated in it. This gave us a lot of confidence that this was the right thing to do.
"Lebanon was also a key in the operation, as it was president of the UN Security Council at that time and enacted the 1973 resolution." The UNSC 1973 resolution formed the legal basis for military intervention in Libya, demanding "an immediate ceasefire" and authorizing the international community to establish a no-fly zone and to use all means necessary short of foreign occupation to protect civilians.
"We have no agenda other than the one that we believe it is important to work together to solve problems. This is a demand-driven partnership. A demand by Arab countries," Ambassador Daalder stressed.
He also pointed out that the focus of the Alliance now is to finish the Libya operation and fulfill the UNSC mandate, as well as protecting civilians.
"We dont see a role for NATO in Syria. Every situation is unique," he commented about the situation in the unrest-stricken Arab country.
The call that NATO started the Libya operation, as opposed to Syria, was that "we had three criteria; it needed to be of a demonstrable need, regional support and a sound legal base for us to act.
"In the case of Syria, the opposition had made very clear that it has no interest of foreign intervention or support. As a result we have no interest in being part of any action," he said.
President Barack Obama appointed Daalder as the United States Ambassador to NATO in May 2009. He was a Director for European Affairs on President Clinton's National Security Council staff from 1995 to 1997, where he was responsible for coordinating US policy toward Bosnia. (end) hb KUNA 120912 Oct 11NNNN