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Us Administration (Talks)

Volume 405: debated on Tuesday 20 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the US administration on (a) NATO reconfiguration and (b) plans to increase its troops presence in Africa. [113526]

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has regular discussions on the future development of NATO with the US and other Allies. NATO Foreign Ministers last met in Brussels on 3 April.At the Prague Summit in November 2002, NATO Heads of State and Government took decisions to transform the Alliance to meet the new threats and security challenges of the 21st Century. To do this NATO must develop new military capabilities to meet these new threats, streamline NATO command structures and have access to flexible Allied forces, able to move quickly to wherever they are needed. As part of this process, NATO has embarked on a radical reshaping of its command structure. The UK strongly supports this process.Prague also emphasises the commitment of NATO to operate out of the Euro-Atlantic area, in order to meet threats to the Allies' common security interests. In this context, NATO decided on 16 April 2003 to offer increased support to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. NATO has no permanent troop presence in Africa and no plans to establish one.