Outgoing NATO secretary general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer talks with CNN’s Max Foster on Afganistan and the 60th anniversary of NATO. The transcript of the video is below, and you can watch it
using the player to the right.
MAX FOSTER, CNN International presenter: Fighting in Afghanistan could dominate the two-day NATO summit today in France and in Germany. U.S. President Barak Obama is on his way to Strasbourg right now and we can go there live too. NATO’s secretary general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer is joining us on the occasion of the organization’s 60th anniversary. Thank you very much indeed for joining us.
It is a landmark meeting because of this anniversary, it’s also been seen as very successful G20 here in London. You’ve got those leaders coming your way as well, most of them. Does that mean we’re going to have some landmark decisions, something really firm and concrete over the next few days from NATO?
JAAP DE HOOP SCHEFFER: Well there are a number of very important issue to discuss. Let me start with Afghanistan which should not become … not be President Obama’s conflict but should be a collective coordinated operation (from) all of us; United States as much as the European allies. The relationship with Russia will be discussed which was at a low ebb after the Georgia crisis. In that relationship we are trying to re-engage. We will greet Croatia and Albania as new members of the alliance which is a very important event and last but certainly not least France is fully rejoining NATO again and NATO is celebrating its 60th anniversary in the heart of Europe on both sides of the Rhine. I thinks as such it is already a landmark occasion, but festivities yes, celebration of 60th anniversary yes, but a lot of substance on the plate so certainly not only celebrations. That would be a wrong course to follow.
FOSTER: Let’s focus on Afghanistan for a moment because insurgent violence there is at its highest levels pretty much since the Taliban were toppled back in 2001 so therefore you could argue whatever is going on there, whatever mission NATO’s involved in isn’t working effectively. How then do the Americans convince other NATO members to take this more seriously and get involved?
SCHEFFER: Well one can’t say I think it’s not working. We have huge challenges as President Obama is the first one to realise. He has taken action. NATO is going to take action, is taking action effectively, realising and I also refer to the important conference held in the Hague this week realizing that you cannot see Afghanistan in isolation so that we need a more regional political approach that speaking for NATO all allies should step up to the plate and if that’s not possible militarily then on the civilian side as President Obama has underlined. So you cannot say that it goes wrong but there is a huge challenge but in a regional context I’m quite sure that also during this summit we will be able to make progress.
FOSTER: The Americans and you wanted more military support didn’t you from your European allies. The fact is you’re not going to get it so the compromise is they provide civilian support instead and that has got to be agreed hasn’t it at this next two-day meeting?
SCHEFFER: That is too gloomy a conclusion I think because if I look at the European allies and I look at the beefing up of the forces that doesn’t happen in one big bang at the summit but they are beefing up their forces. We are going to send in extra battalions into Afghanistan for the support of the elections on the 20th August so lot of things are happening and I hope this summit can seal a lot of other activities in this regard. I mentioned the training of the Afghan national army, I mentioned an initiative to become more proactive in the training of the Afghan national police and more specifically in the training of paramilitary forces, so lots of things are happening, but usually in NATO you do not see a big bang at a summit, but I want with you and with President Obama, I say this again, this should not be President Obama’s or a U.S. conflict. We should be all of us should be in here, be it NATO, be it the European Union, first and foremost the Afghans themselves and the United Nations.
FOSTER: You’re leaving this summer in that role, so good luck to you. In terms of your successor, have you managed to convince Turkey to approve the chosen successor as that’s what Anders Fogh Razmussen is, isn’t he?
SCHEFFER: Well if you ask me how do you manage, my answer is perhaps unexpected but I am not managing at all because the question about my successor is not managed by me by the incumbent secretary general. It is managed by the ambassadors in Brussels, it is being managed at the higher political level as they saw each other in London and they will meet again here so when exactly a decision will be taken, when we can see a nomination. Quite honestly I do not know and I do not want to know at the moment because I am not the lead in that process. But I can assure you that this is being discussed and as always in NATO at the end of the day there will be a consensual decision.
FOSTER: But you’re not expecting it this weekend?
SCHEFFER: Well as I said I do not know, talks are going on are going on and I do not know exactly what to expect but you can be sure it will be discussed either in a formal way or an informal way during the summit but again the moment for a nomination is as unclear to me is as is unclear to me as it is to you as we speak.