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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > From the Under Secretary > Remarks > 2002 Under Secretary for Political Affairs Remarks

Remarks with Norwegian State Secretary Kim Traavik

Marc Grossman, Under Secretary for Political Affairs
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA)
Oslo, Norway
April 19, 2002

MFA STATE SECRETARY KIM TRAAVIK: Just let me say to begin with that we are very pleased to have Marc Grossman here. He is on a round trip, probably through most of Europe, in five or six days. He is bearing up remarkably well. We have been discussing issues related to preparations for the NATO Summit in Prague in November. We have been discussing issues such as NATO enlargement. We have been discussing issues such as NATOís role in the fight against terrorism. We have been discussing items related to NATOís future. So far we have mostly focused on the issues of NATO enlargement and I think there is a broad range of agreement, a lot of common ground between us on that. Both of us want to see as conclusive an enlargement as possible and certainly from our point of view in that regard we donít think the time is right to name individual names. But, we think the perspective should be as short as possible and possibly even including a perspective that would take us from the Baltics to the Black Sea. But it remains largely up to the countries themselves. They will not be included unless they have done the right things in terms of preparing in a comprehensive and systematic fashion towards the enlargement, for the invitation to come, and that process is not over yet. The jury is still out. Marc Grossman.

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: Thank you very much. First of all, thank you all very much for taking time to come and I want to thank our hosts for welcoming us here today.

I had the good fortune and the honor to spend a few minutes with the Minister just now to convey our thanks to the government of Norway, to the Norwegian people for all of the help and the solidarity that has been given to the United States in the global war on terrorism since the 11th of September. I really wanted to start my conversation here by thanking you all for that. I know that the work Norway does around the world with NATO, in Afghanistan, the wonderful mediation in the areas like Sri Lanka, Sudan, I think that are very important to Norway and they are important to the United States as well.

I wanted to come here to talk a little bit about NATO. We are now beginning to think through the kinds of themes that ought to be used at the Prague Summit in November. We think this will be a very important summit for NATO and so our proposition to our allies these past few days is that we ought to And We are going to make a presentation to our Norwegian allies, and I think that they certainly agree with us, that the alliance needs new military capabilities to meet new threats -- the new threats of terrorism; the new threats of weapons of mass destruction. I have seen both what the Minister of Foreign Affairs has said and the Minister of Defense has said in Norway and I think we see very clearly together on this.

The second theme is the question of new members and I just associate myself completely with what the Deputy Foreign Minister has said .We are interested in a robust round of enlargement. President Bush has given us instructions to think about democracies from the Baltics to the Black Sea. Just as the Minister has said, this is very much up to those countries that are interested in becoming members of NATO to do their work. And, I think it is fair to say as he did that the jury is still out.

Third, we have a theme of new relationships: a new relationship between NATO and Russia, new relationships between NATO and central Asia. We are doing a lot of work in these areas and here again I think the Norwegian and American perspectives are very close together.

So, we look forward to the rest of the day here. We believe we will get up from this consultation with very close appreciation between Norway and the United States on what we are doing in NATO and around the world. Thank you very much for taking time to come.

AFTENPOSTEN: The daily Aftenposten. Mr. Traavik, he mentioned from the Baltic to the Black Sea. If we assume that the next group of countries that will be invited will be the Baltic countries, Bulgaria and Romania, is that very far-fetched -- far from what will happen at the Prague Summit?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: Again I agree with what Kim said, that neither of us are going to name names today. I think that would be a big mistake. And it is not that we are trying to be cruel to anybody. Itís because people have work to do and it is too soon to know. We have taken from President Bush and his speech last year in Warsaw our instructions which is try to do as much as possible to advance the cause of freedom and not as little as possible -- and to think about democracies from the Baltics to the Black Sea. So I apologize-you will not get me to name names today. You can speculate as you wish. What we want to do is have NATO membership be open to all of those who are qualified for it, and who are prepared to bear the advantages, but also the responsibilities of NATO membership.

NTB NEWS AGENCY: Mr. Grossman, NTB News Agency. Did you discuss the situation in the Middle East?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: We did not. We may this afternoon, but we have not so far.

NETTAVISEN: Ole Berthelsen, Nettavisen. Mr. Secretary, did you come into the topic of NATO forces possibly used in connection with an American action against Iraq?


AFTENPSOTEN: Is it possible to assume that there can be any whatsoever NATO role in a crisis-solving force in the Middle East?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: Well that would obviously be up to NATO countries. I have not heard that discussed on any of the stops I have been in. And so I think, as we would say in the United States, "It would certainly be above my paygrade," to either talk about or make decisions about a subject like that.

NETTAVISEN: One more follow-up on the Middle East, if I could . There was an item on the wires today saying the US is emphatically against a peace force in the Middle East. Could you elaborate on the American position on this because in Norway I know they are still weighing it a bit?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: I think if I could make two points. First of all let me deal with I think is around in the Norwegian press from my understanding this morning that somehow what Colin Powell did in the area was a failure. I think thatís wrong. I think you ought to step back a little bit and see what Secretary Powell did and what the President announced yesterday. What the Secretary did was get a basic agreement on a vision for the future of the Middle East: two states side by side. A recognition that there ought to be peace and security and freedom for both the Israelis and Palestinians. There ought to be a political process moving forward. And I think very importantly as well here, is that there ought to be a large amount of economic and humanitarian assistance Ė more than is already being given. There is a lot going to the area Ė but more is needed. I also think the Secretary was able to reduce tensions on Israelís northern border and to bring in some of the regional countries in the area to do more. And so, this idea somehow that Colin Powell went to the Middle East and accomplished nothing is wrong. You will see I think over the next few days Assistant Secretary Burns who is still in the Middle East coming here to Norway at the end of the week, excuse me, next week. I think our special negotiator Zinni will have gone back and maybe that Central Intelligence Director Tenet will go back to the Middle East. So we want to keep involved in this. The United States will stay involved. I really have no comment one way or the other on the story that you talked about since Iíve not seen it. But, you know the United States has, along with its allies, talked for some months that the possibility of monitors there, US monitors, other monitors, acceptable to both sides, to see if that might be helpful to the situation there.

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