Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Gordon briefed reporters today on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's participation in a NATO ministerial meeting in Berlin last week. Assistant Secretary Gordon said:
"In Berlin, on the 14th and 15th in April, the Secretary, Secretary Clinton, participated in a NATO ministerial that was an opportunity to consult with key allies and partners not just on Libya, but on a wide range of other bilateral and multilateral issues. The NATO ministerial included sessions on Libya, on Afghanistan, where ISAF -- all of the ISAF partners joined NATO members, NATO's deterrence and defense posture review, NATO's partnership's in general, and specifically the NATO-Russia Council, the NATO-Georgia Commission, and the NATO-Ukraine Commission, so it was a busy couple of days.
"In addition to all the NATO sessions, the Secretary had bilateral meetings with German Chancellor Merkel, German Foreign Minister Westerwelle, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Gryshchenko, British Foreign Secretary Hague, French Foreign Minister Juppe, Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu, and others. She also met with Afghan Foreign Minister Rassoul and several of the Arab participants, and in the course of two days, had the opportunity to discuss these issues even in not in a formal bilateral session with a number of other allies and partners.
"On Libya, the meeting in Berlin of NATO allies and contributors to Operation Unified Protector was an important reaffirmation of some of the key points agreed to at the Doha Contact Group meeting the day before. For context and background, you all remember that the London meeting on Libya on March 29th set up a contact group that was going to meet for the first time formally in Doha, which would provide broad political guidance on Libya and that NATO, since it has taken over the command and control of the military operation, would give executive guidance for the military mission. And that is precisely what took place over the two days with the Contact Group meeting in Doha, addressing a range of political, economic, humanitarian, diplomatic factors, calling clearly for Qadhafi to go. You saw that Contact Group statement or the chair statement out of the Contact Group making clear that Qadhafi has lost all legitimacy and should leave power so that Libyans can shape their own future. And then the NATO ministerial was a chance to follow up the next day. NATO, in Berlin, met with all 28 allies plus the six partners that have joined the Libya coalition.
"And again, I look forward to your questions on this. What I want to draw you attention to was the statement that came out of that NATO plus partners meeting on Libya. I recommend you read it in full. But the most important part of it was when allies agreed, very specifically, to maintain a high operational tempo against legitimate targets and to exert this pressure as long as necessary until the following objectives are achieved. And just to paraphrase, those objectives that NATO agreed to were attacks and threats of attacks against civilians must end; regime forces, including snipers, mercenary, and others, must withdraw from all areas they have forcibly occupied, and then a number of cities were listed; and humanitarian assistance needs to be unhindered. So I want to stress there -- is that all 20 of these allies plus the six partners agreed on a very specific set of goals and made clear that military operations will continue until those goals are met.
"The Doha and Berlin meetings together underscore the international community's commitment to enforce the provisions of Security Council Resolution 1973. We know we have a lot of work still to do not just on the military side, but on the political side, including following up on the temporary financial mechanism that was referred to in the chair statement out of Doha. And the Berlin meetings provide an opportunity for the Secretary to discuss this not just in a NATO context, but also bilaterally with a number of the key partners that I mentioned.
"Finally, I'll just note, because as I said at the beginning, the ministerial wasn't just about Libya. In other areas, the ISAF group of nations met, and allies affirmed the transition principles and expressed broad support for intensifying what we'e calling the diplomatic surge toward an Afghan-led political settlement.
"On the NATO posture review, NATO ministers had a dinner in which they discussed -- following on the New Strategic Concept, the Deterrence and Defense Posture Review, which is designed to help determine the appropriate mix of nuclear, conventional, and missile defense capabilities for the alliance to meet Article 5.
"NATO partnerships -- allies agreed to enhancements for engaging partners across the globe, and indeed, Libya is a classic example of why NATO needs good mechanisms for partnerships, because we're actually undertaking a partnership mission as we speak. NATO-Georgia Commission met and allies reaffirmed Georgia's membership aspirations, encouraged further reforms in Georgia, and expressed support for Georgian territorial integrity and sovereignty.
"In the NATO-Ukraine Commission, allies affirmed the NATO-Ukraine partnership, encouraged further economic and democratic reforms, and welcomed Ukrainian contributions to NATO operations. And then finally, in the NATO-Russia Council, as in the bilateral meeting with Foreign Minister Lavrov, the Secretary had an opportunity to discuss Libya, NATO-Russia missile defense cooperation, and the future of conventional arms control in Europe."
You can read the Assistant Secretary's complete remarks here.