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Sarkozy agrees with Obama a strong EU Defence in NATO, but Turkey a.o. keep the brakes on..

Written by ACM
Friday, 03 April 2009
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 The quite good personal relations between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and new USA President Barack Obama, added to their explicit agreement for a "strong EU Defence policy" between "partrers", could have convinced that fears expressed by dissidents on France's famous Gaulist "independence" could be excessive in a "Nea Era" starting now in Euro-American relations, if it wasn't for Turkey's moves in NATO's Summit, which provoked unanswered questions..

Turkish reported obstruction on election of new NATO SG, would dash Sarkozy's hopes for smooth EU - NATO relations after France's full reintegration ?

- "President Obama wants a strong alliance, he wants  defence able to stand on its own feet !", stressed French President Nicolas Sarkory, after his 1h talks with the new American President, shortly after his venue in Strasbourg.

- "We (USA) don't look how to be EU's patron. We are looking to be partners", echoed the American President in reply.America has promissed to help Europe, and Europe has promissed to help America, that's why during all Cold War NATO didn't have to fire a shot to protect Western Europe from any eventual threat Eastwards, from the former Soviet Union, added Obama. 

With the new "Climate of Confiance" between Europe and America, US could agree more easily on the development of European Defence, said to "EuroFora" NATO's Policy Director, Jamie Shea. At any case, NATO cannot be Europe's defence : EU has to create its own Defence, and develop its own capabilities, he added.


Well informed sources, on the sidelines of the on-going NATO's Summit in Strasbourg,  indicated to "EuroFora" that, in fact, "France's return to NATO's military commandment had already started, progressively,  since .. 1994", because of Balkan wars. Step by step, similar moves were extended later, following other crisisn, which needed to send soldiers and military equipment abroad, inside multinational or international teams.

Critics, however, did'nt point only to the US itself, but also to "the UK, Turkey, Poland, as former PM Dominique Villepin reportedly observed the same day. Villepin was with Dupont-Aignant and other dissidents from the governing party, who came, eartlier this week to Strasbourg to voice his dissent, anouncing an independent list to the June 2009 EU Elections, which respect proportionality of votes, instead of the majority-takes-all national election system in France.

German Chancellor Angie Merkel has already clearly stressed that EU must discuss with the new American President how to overcome a "Turkey and Cyprus" issue, as she called the "regrets" expressed by an EU Parliament's Resolution on March in Strasbourg, for Ankara's "obstruction" against a smooth EU - NATO cooperation in all cases, asking them to "drop" it asap.

In brief, Turkey perisists to block EU - NATO joint activities each time they involve EU Member Cyprus that Ankara still refuses to recognize, despite a crystal-clear EU call, since 21 September 2005, which "may affect" even more gravely its controcersial EU bid if it's not corrected before the end of 2009..

A "New Start" on efforts to solve this issue, eventually with a fresh "Package" deal, including EU moves on Cyprus, appeared probable on the sidelines of Strasbourg's 2 Days Summit, according to NATO's experienced former Spokesman, and current Policy Director, Jamie Shea, as he said to "EuroFora".


But, once again, Turkey intervened : Now it's about Ankara's objections against Danish Prime Minister,  Anders Fogh Rasmussen's candidacy as new NATO's Secretary General, which should, in principle, be decided by the Heads of State/Government Summit, tonight.

New US President Obama reportedly backed Rasmussen's candidacy, and most of his EU partners apparently agreed.  But Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan accused Rasmussen in public to be impopular among some Islamic movements, because he had defended freedom of expression against some excessive reactions to the provocations by a controversial artist in the famous case of  anti-Moameth "Cartoons", that hilmself had also condemned, but not censored.

But, facts indicate that, the real reasons for which Turkey might block the election Danish PM at NATOs Summit would be much more selfish : Denmark has had, indeed, in the past also another "Freedom of Expression" row vis a vis Turkey itself, on a Kurdish language Radio-TV.

Buit the most important seems to be the InterState application lodged by the Danish Government agains Turkey for Torture/Inhuman-Degrading treatments, by offering protection to a Danish Citizen of Turkish origin, who had denounced that torture was largely practiced by Ankara.

Later on, Denmark and Turkey agreed to drop the case by "Friendly Agreement", earlier in Strasbourg, once Ankara promissed to eradicate Torture all over the Country, and to take, all necessary measures to fight against Impnity and Inhuman and degrading treatments.

However, EU Parliament's latest Resolution oin Tukey, adopted in 2009, denounces, on the contrarry, the fact that the Number of reported cases of Torture "is growing" in the country...

So that, if anyone denounced this fact into CoE's Committee of Ministers, then, Ankara would be anew exposed for persistent failure to comply with ECHR's judgements on a core-Human Rights issue..

Now, it might be that it wasn't so much Liberal Rasmussen himself, bur rather his ChristianDemocrat Foreign Minister, Per Stig Moller, of another party, who could have been more active on such issues..

But, at any case, a brake is a brake, ... unless all this was just hard bargaining behind closed doors... .

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What's the real motive behind Turkey's blockade of NATO ?

Written by ACM
Friday, 03 April 2009


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Until MidNight local Strasbourg time, Turkey was blocking NATO's Heads of State and Government Summit, insisting on its opposition to the election of frontrunner candidate for new Secretary General, Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Journalists learned in susbtance from an unexpected, improvised Press point, held by NATO's Spokesman, James Apparturai. Apparturai  spoke by VisioConference from the German side of Rhine River, where NATO Leaders still were working,  to the Press Center located at  the French side, where the official Summit is due to conclude tomorrow, Saturday, in an attempt to save precious Time..

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The Turkish move dashed hopes of German chancellor Merkel to have the decision on the new NATO's SG taken tonight, at Baden-Baden, as she had reportedly anounced, and bypassed new US President Obama's public support to Rasmussen, reportedly supported by almost all other among NATO"s 28 Member Countries, except mainly of Ankara.

Worse : By blocking the Summit's discussions until now, on the name of new NATO's SG, obliged to postpone the decision for tomorrow, without even knowing if it will be taken, or not.

 The Turkish obstruction provoked such a huge waste of Time, that on the main substantial issues, as on Russia and the missile crisis, NATO was hindered to conclude, obliging the Chiefs of State/Goveernment to continue even later tonight, while, tommorrow's discussion on Afghanistan's no 1 urgency, might also be affected.

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(Journalists reduced into playing ...ping-pong at NATO's Summit, by the Time wasted by the Turkish blockade of the 28 Member States' Organization.).

So that NATO's spokesman, James Apparturai,  even if he insisted that Russia  and mainly Afghanistan debate WILL be held, because of their topical importance, on the contrary, could not exclude a further postponement on the election of the new Secretary General..


   Most Journaliists from various countries and mainstream Media;  who participated in the Press Conferene were strongly critical of Turkey's obstructionism :

A French Journalist asked how NATO would explain to the World that the best candidate should be excluded because he defended Freedom of Expression.

An Anglosaxon Journalist asked whether there was only 1 State which was refusing the Candidate accepted by all the others, etc, and how NATO would find anew the TIME wasted until now

In an attempt to break its isolation, Turkey tried to push any other candidate...

New US President Obama reportedly backed Rasmussen's candidacy, and most of his EU partners apparently agreed.  But Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has accused Rasmussen in public to be impopular among some Islamic movements, because he had defended freedom of expression against some excessive reactions to the provocations by a controversial artist in the famous case of  anti-Moameth "Cartoons", that hilmself had also condemned, but not censored.

But, facts indicate that, the real reasons for which Turkey might block the election Danish PM at NATOs Summit would be much more selfish : Denmark has had, indeed, in the past also another "Freedom of Expression" row vis a vis Turkey itself, on a Kurdish language Radio-TV.

Buit the most important seems to be the InterState application lodged by the Danish Government agains Turkey for Torture/Inhuman-Degrading treatments, by offering protection to a Danish Citizen of Turkish origin, who had denounced that torture was largely practiced by Ankara.

Later on, Denmark and Turkey agreed to drop the case by "Friendly Agreement", earlier in Strasbourg, once Ankara promissed to eradicate Torture all over the Country, and to take, all necessary measures to fight against Impnity and Inhuman and degrading treatments.

However, EU Parliament's latest Resolution oin Tukey, adopted in 2009, denounces, on the contrarry, the fact that the Number of reported cases of Torture "is growing" in the country...

So that, if anyone denounced this fact into CoE's Committee of Ministers, then, Ankara would be anew exposed for persistent failure to comply with ECHR's judgements on a core-Human Rights issue..


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SG Hoop Scheffer : on Afghanistan+, NATO needs Human Rights Values to succeed

Written by ACM
Thursday, 02 April 2009

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NATO needs Values to succeed in its present and future tasks, said at the Human Rights Capital : Strasbourg, Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, speaking about one of the most important issues for the 2009 Summit : Afghanistan.

He was addressing his main message for NATO's future on the horizon of 2020 to "young leaders" from many countries all over the world at the eve of the TransAtlantic Organizations 60th Anniversary Summit of 28 Heads of State and Government, hosted by France and Germany, including new USA President Obama, which has to decide, in the following 2 days, both on Afghanistan and on NATO's change of Strategy.

- I can't send a 19 years old boy to Afghanistan without telling him that he's going there to defend Values, stressed de Hoop Scheffer.

 And I need to be able to say to a Mother and a Father, when they get the body of their son killed in Afghanistan, that he fought for respect of and defence of Human Rights Values, NATO's Secretary General said.in Strasbourg, .

- "In Afghanistan, NATO's Military cannot make the difference. Because the key question will be a Political - civil one", stressed the experienced former OSCE Secretary General, f. Dutch Foreign Minister, and outgoing NATO's SG.

- "I do not believe in the "Clash of Civilisations", but "I believe in Universal Values", he pointed out, brushing away a pretext often abused by some to try to cover-up human rights abuses.

But, "never forget : Values don't come accidentally. They have to be protected", he added.

A first occasion for that might be given immediately at Strasbourg's Summit, where the frontrunner candidate for his succession to the post of New NATO's SG, Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, already endored by Germany, the USA, and many other big countries, leads a government known as defensor of basic Human Rights' Values, such as Freedom of Expression in various cases, and fight against Torture.

In this regard, Denmark had filed an Interstate application versus Turkey at the European Court of Human Rights in order to protect a Danish-Turkish Citizen from Torture and Inhuman/Degrading Treatments, which concluded in a "Friendly Agreement" with Ankara formally promissing to the ECHR that it would do everything at its disposal to curbe exceptionally sky-rocketing Torture figures in the country.

ChristianDemocrat Danish Foreign Minister, Per Stig Moller's statements in favor of the tortured young man had made headline news some years ago.

But EU Parliament's latest Resolution on Turkey's contriversial EU-bid, adopted  on March 2009 in Strasbourg, expresses "concern" for the "growing Number" of Torture cases reported in Turkey.

New US President, Barack Obama, has often linked his decision to completely close the Guantanamo prison, (already on, the way out during the 2nd term of his predecessor, former US President G.W.Bush), with a clear rejection of any Torture and inhuman or degrading treatments.

Strasbourg's tradition for larger deals on NATO moves, a chance for Obama ?

Written by ACM
Wednesday, 01 April 2009
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 Few people know that the most important NATO's changes have been politically decided in Strasbourg the recent times, and that all indicates that this tradition will be probably kept now too, at its forthcoming 2009 Anniversary Summit, on Friday and Saturday.

It's indeed in Strasbourg, on 1997, that the most unthinkable change since NATO's creation, back at the Cold War, its 1st Historic Enlargement to Central - Eastern European Countries was in fact decided, after an EU Troika meeting with the f. Foreign Minister of Russia, Evgeni Primakov.

The decision had been taken at an EU - Russia meeting, a Monday before EU Parliament's session starts, and  the protagonists, 4 Foreign Ministers, immediatedly came to the Europeran Press Center (IPE 3) to announce the result to Strasbourg's Journalists.

But, "EuroFora" did not exist yet, ...and this radicallly important News remained practically hidden to the World, with the exception of a Greek and Turkish Media, and a local French radio...

Thus, the Foreign Ministers had to repeat the same exercice, one day later, at nearby Luxembourg, where several Brussels' Journalists had routinely gathered, for a banal ... Agriculture budget meeting..

There, Strasbourg info on NATO enlargement became immediately Headline "News", particularly once it was cited by US Agency AP, ... even if it was 24 Hours old !...Ironically, the most important GeoPolitical development in Europe's modern History, had to get the help of ... Cows or goats, in order to "exist"  for our scandalously stupid Mass Media...

In fact, the real NATO - Russia GeoPolitical deal had a much  broader scope : Primakov remained critical against NATO's Enlargement to former Warsaw pact countries, but accepted that Moscow let it be, in exchange of EU's promisse to boost its mainly Economic Framework agreement with Russia opening an era of more intense exchanges.

At the same time, the 1997 Strasbourg's diplomatic landscape had already radically changed recently, allowing for this unprecedented event to take place : Since February 1996, the same Primakov had formally signed Russia's entry to the CoE, as full Member : An immense change in the former Cold War-style  Organization of Strasbourg, which had also accepted, meanwhile, since the end of 1995,  ... the USA, under a special Status

Thus, CoE had already become .. Trans-Atlantic, without making big noise.!.. This fact obviously had facilitated the presence in 2006 in Strasbourg of both the f. Russian Foreign Minister Primakov, who had reportedly come for CoE's affairs, and the discreet contacts with some American diplomats.

The rest (i.e. attracting here EU's Troika at the same time) had been done thanks to EU Parliament's regular sessions in Strasbourg, which include, in addition to MEPs, also the rotating EU Council's Presidency, in the Top level form of Foreign Ministers, often even Prime Ministers.

It's probably nowhere else in the World, but in Strasbourg, that you could find, regularly crossing each other's routes, both EU, CoE, Russian and American Top Political Players, and even in such a "soft" and natural way, that they could have been discreetly meeting unofficially for Months, without anyone noticing, since they were, at any case, here, on the occasion of various differend other meetings, special to each one of these organizations which coexist in the same time and space..
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Strasbourg : ATA 1999 - NATO 2009
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This was made even more clear shortly afterwards, in  1999,  10 Years before NATO's 2009 Summit, during Atlantic Treaty Association ('ATA)"s Conference, organized in Strasbourg the same year that the 1st NATO's Enlargment Eastwards was enacted in real practice :

All the week-long, f. French President Jacques Chirac, f. NATO's SG Robinson, f. Presidents of Romania and Bulgaria, Constantinescu and Stoyanov, together with several Foreign and/or Defence Ministers, focused on parallel NATO and EU Enlargements :

There also, Defence, Security and Political levels had, oficially, nothing in common, but in fact, they were allowed a complex interplay on several concrete occasions : Both practically and symbolically, the 1999 ATA Conference took place ...inside CoE and EU Parliament's buildings all the week long..

France and other EU Countries' wish to be both inside the NATO, and "Autonomous" in their development and use of their own Defence capacities, inevitably marked the event.

And Now ?

A Decade later, New US President Obama's visit to Europen has also a broaderr GeoPolitical scope :

From Globall Finance in London, at the West, he heads towards EU issues at nearby Prague, Eastwards, showing anew that Strasbourg is in the middle pf it all..

NATO's Defense matters, once again, cannot and will not be treated alone, but in relation to all other main topical issues.

Russia is anew a crucial factor in Strasbourg Geo-Political issues in 2009, even more than at the beginning of this Decade in 1999, 1997 and 1995.

Collectively, thanks to a Franco-German idea, suggested by President Sarkozy and supported by Chancellor Merkel, to try to use OSCE to start examining the idea of a PanEuropean Security system, in order to avoid a Russo-American Missile Crisis in Europe. And/or bilaterally, by developing further an American idea to incite Russia to intermediate vis a vis Iran, while also cooperating closer on Afghanistan, Moscow's de-gel with NATO will anyway be on the Agenda.

But, obviously, the most intrigating issue, is the future of Euro-American links :

New US President Barack Obama, obviously has raised several hopes in Europe, including in French President Sarkozy, but he'd better try to start using this positive ambiance into building together something concrete the soonest possible, before Time runs away and unpredictable events or the usual routine, may threaten to take away more or less of this alchemie.

It's true that an American wish to try to ameliorate relations with Europe started also to be shown during former US President G.W.Bush's second mandate, since 2004/2005, while even his unsuccesful competitor, Senator Kerry, had insisted during the electoral campain on that point.

On March 2009, EU Parliament in Strasbourg, has just adopted a Report on Euro-American relations, drafted by ChristianDemocrat MEP Francisco Millan-Mons, which strongly supports new concrete steps in developing a closer Trans-Atlantic partnership, including by Institutional changes.

Meanwhile, it's not only France which fully re-joins NATO, but also the USA which might join the European defence in Strasbourg !

- EUROCORPS' Headquarters expect "probably during this Summer" 2009, that the American Army joins the MultiNational PC as "Sending Nation", said earlier to "EuroFora", EuroCorps' PIO Chief, colonel Raul Suevos.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
But a crucial test will inevitably be whether a new US position might make good use of Sarkozy's bold move to bring France back to NATO's joint Military commandment, by allowing Europe to equally develop its Defence capacities, particularly in the High-Tech sector, and safeguard its independence of thinking in some major strategic choices, while also being a faithful and reliable ally..

In particular, it seems that, as EADS-Astrium's chief expert on Security and Defence policy, General Molard, recently told "EuroFora" in Strasbourg, the main component which still lacks for Europe to acquire an independent capacity of modern defence, including on anti-missile protection, is to develop an Airborn and/or Spaceborn "Early Warning system", which, if the right decisions are taken in 2009, could be ready before 2016.

(See full Interview, for the moment sent only to "EuroFora"s Subscribers/Donors),

With this, and other similar concrete issues, is also linked the core question on whether a new US policy might accept to share and cooperate with the EU, and/or accept its parallel development, more largelly on all main Scientific and Technological breakthroughs related to Security and Defence, and particularly Air-Space Research and Development matters, without big exclusions.

- "This is not done "against" the Americans. Our American Friends (already) have a capacity to evaluate the situation. The Europeans will have their own capacity to evaluate the situation. So that we can discuss together. Because as the Americans don't always see everything, and aren't always right, also the Europeans don't always see everything and aren't always right. But, together, we (EU and USA) are stronger", concluded on the crucial question the experienced General Molard.

- "I think that what Sarkozy does is the right thing  : The development of a European Defence with the capacitty to act in an autonomous way, is not contradictory with France's return to NATO's military command. In fact, it can be mutually reinforcing", replied recently to "EuroFora" also EuroCorps' Chief of Staff, Georg Nachtsheim from Germany.

Last, but not least, at another front, new US President Barack Obama may also make good use of another unique opportunity in Strasbourg, this time mainly vis-a-vis Civil Society and Citizens  : A key sector in the foreseeable Future also for NATO, if it really wants to develop a new role also in direction of Civil Society (as current plans clearly indicate), and to become more Popular  :

It's well known that a part of Obama's driving force among the People, both inside the US and abroad, are his personal symbolic links with the Historic American Civic Rights movement, initiated by Martin Luther King. Some CoE Diplomats told "EuroFora" that they remember of Obama when they worked at WDC and US Senate's Black Caucus. Meanwhile, recent developments towards the closure of controversial Guantanamo bay prison, denounced by MEPs, that even f. president Bush had started to overcome, add in this same direction.

This is partly linked to a renewal of the classic "American Dream", to the point that even former US President G.W.Buish recognized that when he spoke of Barack Obama's personal course, from Chicago to Washinghton DC's White House.

But Strasbourg is also known in all Europe and the World as the "Capital of Human Rights", mainly because of Council of Europe's No 1 priority since the 2005 Warsaw Summit, and of the unique work done by the European Court of Human Rights the last decades.

Thus, it would certainly be a nice idea for the new US President, Barack Obama, to try to find a moment and a way to visit or otherwise link, symbolically and/or in real prtactice his 2 Days-long stay in Strasbourg with the CoE, and/or the ECHR.

After all, it's since 1995 ("Clinton A" era) that the USA have got a status inside CoE, and, by a positive coincidence, both ECHR and CoE buildings have been located inside the NATO Summit's Security perimeter (See MAP in related Newstory dated 31/3/09), just a few minutes way from the PMC building where the Summit takes place and Obama will stay overnight...

Even in the American and worldwide controversy on public funds for Human Embryo's use for Research, which opposed Obama to Bush, a right US move towards the CoE may help to alleviate fears against risks of abuse :

Strasbourg-based CoE has, indeed, a unique in the World legally binding mechanism for the protection of Human Rights in the domain (of growing importance world-wide) of Bio-Medicine, which includes some safeguards against possible abuses dangerous to individual persons, and to Humankind. American Legal Experts have worked together with European Experts from the start, since many years ago, to draft this International Treaty, (known as "Oviedo" Treaty, from the Spanish village in which it was signed at a special CoE event).     


"EuroFora" has already communicated such points and suggestions  to some CoE's staff, Months earlier. Shortly after that,  CoE's Secretary General, Terry  Davis, decided to visit Washington DC, on the occasion of a public event, at the eve of NATO's 2009 Summit here.

On all these points, results will be seen during the following days in Strasbourg, But what is sure is just that the way such questions will be treated here, is due to have an important impact on the Future.

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MAM "firm and calm" to secure Europe's Heart : Strasbourg's Human Rights symbol at NATO 2009 Summit

Written by ACM
Tuesday, 31 March 2009
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-What is really at stake and "special", with Strasbourg's 2009 NATO Summit's Security ? Apparently, it's a Mystery :

French Home affairs' Minister, Michelle Alliot-Marie, revealed that "the biggest Security operation in France for several Decades", is being set up, "for the 1st time", now, at this occasion. Why ? 

It's not the first time that a Summit takes place in France and/or Germany, who have already organized even larger Summits with much more participants. Nor the first visit of an US President, at all. And it's not because of NATO itself, neither : As an experienced former Defence Minister, Alliot-Marie, said that she has rarely seen similar threats at previous NATO Summits elsewhere (See infra).


All this points at what could be the No 1 Real Target : "Europe's Heart".

I.e. Strasbourg's Human Rights, democratic Franco-German reconciliation and East-West reunification"Symbol", extended to hopes to revive Euro-American links in an equilibrated way, open to friendly dialogue and cooperation with Russia, as Alliot-Marie's fast-track visit highlighted.

Obviously, as everywhere, and always in post-9/11 Summits, there might be some provocations, errors or blunders, attempts to deviate, provoke lacunas or abuses, under any pretext, to be manipulated and exploited by this or that dark interest, etc.

- "Good old times", before 9/11, when "journalists used to cross tens of Chiefs of State and Governments in CoE's or EU's corridors, just by going to get a coffee, as in CoE's PanEuropean 1997 Summit, precisely at this same Strasbourg city and PMC building", as "EuroFora" reminded, "are obviously gone", observed, smiling with regret, a lady journalist from Germany, where will be even more Security staff than at the French side : about 15.000 instead of some 10.000...

But Michelle Alliot-Marie was adamant, when asked by a group of Journalists, in the middle of which was "EuroFora", "what was her main Message" at the fast-track visit she made on several hot-spots to review  the overall Security mechanism prepared for the exceptionl Mega-event :

- "To be Firm and Calm", she replied, in front of all Security Officials, from Health services, Police and Secret Services, to the Military, spreading from Land and River to Airborn and even Space High-Tech segments, which face the giant task to guarantee safety and smooth functioning "at several different points scattered around in two countries" at the same time, as Strasbourg's Prefet Jean-Marc Rebiere told her from the outset.

- "This is an exceptionally important Summit", of 28 Chief of States and Governments' delegations, and a new US President, with a special Symbolism on Franco-German cooperation, while France reintegrates NATO's Military command, during an on-going conflict at Aghanistan, after even Greece recently faced some "special" incidents : This provokes a number of Risks, and the No 1 is Terrorism", Alliot-Marie warned.    

Terrorists are often "attracted by Mass Media", particularly when there is a great number of Journalists, she added, "Modern Wars are Communication Wars", and "several terrorists are more interested by the Echo given to their actions, than in them. Because their aim is to Destabilise our societies".

However, even if considerable, the number of Journalists appeared a little bit lower than some had thought earlier : Instead of more than 6.000 initially expected, current estimates were at about 3.500 Media staff in all, (i.e. with technicians, photographers, etc). But that's already big..


-  In addition, "as usual, Summits also attract Demonstrators. But here, a number of Extremists, from all European Countries, take Rendez-vous to infiltrate the demonstrators in order to pass on certain actions : Even at the  Internet, or in their own declarations, they have already launched calls for "Civil Disobedience", for Provocation,  or some  Violent actions, etc. aiming to hinder the smooth functioning of this Summit", she noted.

- "To the point that, as a former Minister of Defence who has participated in many other NATO Summits, I've rarely seen so many threats of violence !"

Indeed, Prefet Rebiere noted that, according to infos from Brussels, some demonstrators tried to enter NATO's Headquarters even there, while explicit "calls to disrupt" Strasbourg's 2009 NATO Summit multiplied. Such events indicate that "Risks are not only virtual"...

-"This obliges us to take certain precautions, in order to protect both the Summit's delegations, and the local Population, even peaceful Demonstrators, MAM stressed.
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Minister of Security "and Liberty"..
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Friendly known as "MAM", Michelle Alliot-Marie, arbored anew a smile, when she made one of her favorite points : - "I have also to protect innocent citizens and peaceful demonstrators' democratic right to express their political beliefs : After all, I'm Minister in charge both of Security and of Liberties", she reminded.

Meanwhile, most of this heavy task is at the hands of men and women wearing uniforms : Some of them astonishingly looking like young kids, girls or housewives, difficult to distinguish from normal citizens' home-life, if it wasnt' that uniform, as a group of Journalists, lost inside Strasbourg Security headquarters' meanders, saw right in front of them..

They will be dealing everyday (and night), 24/24h, with all citizens, tourists, demonstrators, etc., in a 200.000 inhabitants' urban area, where are expected "between 35.000 and 45.000 demonstrators", (i.e 20% of the local population !),  largely peaceful, even if pittoresque, but among which "some 2.000 present a real risk to use violence", MAM said.

- "All this obliges us to stop those who search to perturbate the Summit, to use violence, or refuse the rules, in particular for the demonstration", she added.

    That's why we have taken some measures, including the mobilisation of roughly 10.000 agents, Policemen, Gendarmes, special Services, etc. while even Fire-fighters, Health staff, etc. are on the stand-by".

    Initial estimates (unofficial, since the Prefect had not given any numbers for a long time) were at about 5 or 6.000 agents, and this indicates a decision to beef up the State's presence on the spot.  

- "It's the biggest Security operation in France for Decades", MAM observed. However, this remains "less than what is done from the German side, even if there are less demonstrators expected there, and the only "Alternative village" will be at the French side.

    ''So, this seems to be, today, the adequate Number, in a just proportion, considering that we have to protect many Sites, and 2.000 sensitive persons with all the delegations, including some 900 Americans, from those searching to provoke trouble".

    "At the same time, we want to prevent damages or aggressions to the detriment of the local population".  MAM added.

    In fact, it's always the same story, in this kind of Tricky situations :  - "Before any incident, you got too many agents. But, after an incident, you never have enough !", she pointed out, showing that the main thing was the delicate estimation of the real risks.

    In conclusion, we hope, by ensuring a smooth functioning of the Summit, to give a good Image for the Country and Strasbourg's beautiful city. For that purpose, "we (France) have a very good cooperation with our German friends, including in Air-Space surveillance, MAM concluded.
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High-Tech Network
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    Discreet for the moment, but more and more present on the spot, a High-Tech Network combines Land, Water, Air and Space equipments with trained staff, in order to face 2009 NATO Summit's challenge to protect the group of 28 Heads of State and Government, as well as the local population, from "risks of terrorism", harassment or provocation, by a small but active minority, while respecting a larger number of citizens' democratic, peaceful expression of various political beliefs.

    This includes, among others, also Airborn Video-surveillance, Satellite Helios, 28 Cameras from the Municipality of Strasbourg, the SIRAC system on Road Traffick surveillance, French and other allied Countries' AWACS giant Early Warning Airplanes, 10 additional intercepting Airplanes (only from the French side), 6 Fantoms, 3 Migs, more than 11 Helicopters, etc.
    To which are added also several Tanks on land, and various River floating and other vehicles, at the Rhine, (where Chiefs of State will gather before demonstrators' arrival), visited by  the Minister under special Secrecy measures....

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    "EuroFora" remembers, fex. that a "Greenpeace" boat had tried to approach,  from the Seaside, the G-8 Summit at Germany's Heiligendam village, in 2007, while a group of demonstrators penetrated a fenced-off area, obliging to stop road communications and jumb-over the barriers with noisy Military Helicopters  : Thus, a group of Journalists had to spend almost an Hour, sign a discharge in case of accident, etc.,wait massed like ..Paratroopers ready to jumb, inside a huge German Military Helico, far away at a field, to lift off and fly over the trees and the sea, making a tour around the area, before landing at another spot, and running like kamikazi to catch up with the Time lost before a Press point.. All that, just to cross a small strip of land which normally took 3 to 4 minutes only to stroll quietly..

    In Strasbourg's 2009 NATO Summit, it's even more delicate to protect, at the same time, many Sites dispersed not only among France and Germany, but also accross the City, including the European Army HQs at EuroCorps (independent from NATO, but able to cooperate), the installations of Shengen's system of information, etc.

    Thus, it's so important to constantly have an overall view of the entire picture including all delicate areas, that some 900 agents (2 times more than usually) gather, watch and check the Airborn collected Data, 24h/24 and 7/7.

    Resulting in spectacular Photos "real Time" of all hot-spots, and frequent Videos, with Geo-localisation technology able to show who is, where, at a precise moment, presented in a spectacular Multi-Screen system on the walls of Strasbourg's  Security Headquarters, (as in Paris' International Crisis' Management Center, located in the Foreign Ministry at Quai d'Orsay -Comp. relevant earlier Reportage from Paris).

    However, using a similar method as for Evian's G-8 Summit in the past, called "Synergy", this time for a larger number of States, (28, i.e. most EU Countries, to which are added not only Norway, Iceland or Croatia, but also Turkey, and soon Albania), most of the Data are given to all NATO's partners, observed an official.
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     But in fact, it's not only about the Summit itself, the politicians, the population and the buildings, etc. It's also about the Historic Symbol, the Idea, initited by its Franco-German hosts, to hold NATO's 60th Anniversary and reform Summit at the Heart of Europe, on both sides of the Rhine River, Strasbourg and Baden-Baden, culminating right at the river's center : On the famous Strasbourg-Kehl "Europe -bridge", facing the spectacular mathematically calculated pedestrian "MirMar" modern bridge, in the middle of the beatiful "2 riversides' Garden". There where EU's 2004 Enlargement to 10 Central-Eastern European countries was celebrated by EU Parliament with FireWorks, becoming a Double Symbol, in addition to the Franco-German reconciliation and cooperation, also of the End of Europe's East-West "cold war" Division.
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"Security" may lead very far.......
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    By an Irony of the sort, perhaps, the most outstanding and unexpected Symbols, which might mark Strasbourg's 60th Anniversary Summit and the reform of NATO, is the particular way Security measures themselves brought NATO's Political and Military leaders closer than ever with ...Human Rights and even Spiritual Moral Values !

- Indeed, the core of NATO Summit, Saturday at Strasbourg's "Music and Congres' Palace"  : (PMC), recently renamed "Pflimlin" building, in the memory of the city's Historic Mayor, ex-Prime Minister of France, EU Parliament and CoE Assembly's long-time President, Pierre Pflimlin, is close not only to these 2 European Institutions officially destinated to safeguard and boost Democracy, but also inside one and same .. provisional "Castle", which includes also .. the European Court of Human Rights !

nato_summit_pmc_area_400


+ Similarly, an important Franco - American bilateral Summit, between French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and new US President Barack Obama, is due to take place down-town, at Strasbourg's Rohen Castle, which was included in the same Security circle as Strasbourg's
famous, mountain-high Cathedral, an outstanding Religious monument ! ..

Questioned earlier by "EuroFora" why the Security net didn't  follow the riverside's outline, which leaves ECHR's building out, cutting it off from the PMC, an Official simply replied that : - "We couldn't abandon EuroCourt without any protection !"...  

However, "protect" ECHR is one thing. But put it inside a Top Security level circle, surrounded by fences and barriers, by tracing a delicate and long 'zig-zag" around its building, to include it in the same compound, together with NATO Summit main participants, is another story.. ..

Could this incite some NATO Military staff, and/or political leaders, to have a look also on the Human Rights dimension, and find a way to include it inside new NATO future reforms ?...

OSCE, the PanEuropean Security Organization, where both Russia and the US belong, already does so, in principle...

- "One of the advantages of OSCE's general framework is that it offers also a larger overview, including Security together with Democracy and Human Rights issues", observed, indeed, to "EuroFora" a well-informed source from the French Presidency.

 This was in reply to our question on Nicolas Sarkozy's well-known proposal, agreed with German Chancellor Merkel, to start thinking about a possible PanEuropean Security System, probably through the OSCE, in order to avoid a "crisis between USA's "missile shield"'s initial plan to put radars in Poland, Czech Republic, etc., right in front of Russia, and Moscow's counter-threat to place missiles at Kaliningrad, close to Berlin, in addition to sending giant bombardier airplanes overseas,

But it's only at the conclusions of Strasbourg's Summit that we shall know, how might be shaped "new NATO"'s outline... And it's only next year : on 2010, that it may be fixed..

Meanwhile, all ferocious anti-OTAN demonstrators or tourists, can have, at least, one big consolation : All those Military and Political egg-heads will be obliged to inevitably look and think about Human Rights and moral, religious values, because their symbols are right in front of their nose !

That's already a moral "revenge", which could only happen in Strasbourg...


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    Before the end of 2009, France and Germany will take strong initiatives to open "new Horizons" needed by Europe and the World, going well beyond the current Crisis' management, anounced French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angie Merkel, reassuring that both a judgement on Lisbon Treaty by nearby Karlsruhe German Federal Court, and the forthcoming National Elections in Germany would confirm their capacity to act.    

They were replying to Press questions in Berlin, after key-regional elections on Sunday, where Merkel's ChristianDemocratic party kept everywhere a strong 1st and won the possibility to forge a New Majority with Liberals at the largest of 3 Landers : Saxony (4 millions inhabitants), while its main competitor, the Socialdemocrat party fell to unprecedented lows : Tackled by the small "Linke" (left) party in Saarland (1 million inhabitants), it became even smaller than it in Saxony and Thuringen (3 million inhabitants), where SPD arrived only third. While its usual partners, the "Greens" also fell down, contrary to CDU's new partners, the FDP Liberals, who go up.

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    - "At any case, at the end of the year (2009), if things go as scheduled, we shall take strong initiatives, showing that Europe needs a Franco-German axis, as well as the World, even if it never excludes other" countries to join, replied Sarkozy to a question if France and Germany will revive the "European dream", by "relauncing the EU motor" for the Future, with actions going further than the mere management of the global crisis, (as it was done fex. in the Past with the creation of the "Euro" Monetary zone, etc).

    - "I am convinced that the Franco-German friendship must be constantly nourished by New Projects", he added."There are many areas of cooperation where we intend to take, very soon, some Franco-German initiatives, which will allow to open more Horizons" to the EU, Sarkozy stressed.

    But if "we don't speak about that now, it's only in order to avoid interfering in important elections coming in Germany", he observed. However, "we have already started to consider the Future with the (German) Chancellor, and what we can do in order to honour our predecessors". "We are already speaking about that, and we are preparing things". "I am working very well together with Mrs Merkel, and I wish that it goes on", Sarkozy concluded.

merkel_sarkozy_eu_flag_400

    - "It's important for EU's credibility that France and Germany advance forward together", stressed Merkel from the outset. "Don't worry about Germany's capacity to undertake initiatives" with France, she added. "France and Germany will be perfectly able to make proposals" for the EU.

    -  "After-crisis" plans must be prepared, meanwhile, with measures "advancing progressively", Merkel anounced. And, for the short term, we must deal also with EU Citizens' dismay since they feel that it's a Scandal for some in the Financial Markets to be paid with excessive "Bonuses", etc, she agreed with Sarkozy.

    - "Abuses in financial markets must stop", stressed also Sarkozy. Backing Merkel's announcement that France and Germany call for an EU meeting to forge "a crystal-clear European position" in view of the G-14 Summit at Pittsburg, he warned that "everyone will have to undertake his responsibilities, in front of World's Public Opinion. particularly those who don't want to make the same effort of regulation as France and Germany".

    Moreover, "Global Trade cannot be correctly dealt, without taking into account also Environmental and Social rules", Sarkozy added, referring to recently expressed positions against Unfair Competition via Environmental and/or Social Dumping, (See earlier "EuroFora"'s publications).

    Such moves are obviously linked to the need to ensure at least an elementary respect for Human Rights by Third Countries, (f.ex. exploitation of Children's work, etc) in order to avoid, precisely, any such Social Dumping.

    - "EU has Values, protecting Human Rights and Human Dignity", and "it cannot close its eyes" in front of grave violations, particularly "Torture and/or killings", added, indeed, Sarkozy.

    Thus, "the time comes, where decisions must be taken". But, in case of "Sanctions", "all International opinion should be convinced of the need to take action", he observed.

    Expressed on the occasion of recent developments in Iran, the same principles should logically apply also to other similar cases, including fex. that of Hundreds of ECHR judgements' condemning f;ex. Turkey for grave crimes, (as Torture, brutal Killings, Enforced "Disappearances", Destruction of Family Homes, harassments and oppressive violations of Freedom of Speech, etc).

    Meanwhile, questioned on (EU Commission's chair)  Barroso's bid to succeed himself for a second mandate, they both expressed a "wish" or a "feeling" that "EU Parliament"'s various political Groups might fix a date for decisions "during September". However, is he is endorsed before the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, it will be legally necessary to re-vote anew for a full term of office afterwards, according to EU Legal Experts, revealed recently in Strasbourg the experienced former President of EU Parliament's Constitutional Committee, German Socialist MEP Jo Leinen. And Germany will not vote for Lisbon Treaty's ratification but only "on September 8 and 18", revealed Merkel, ( i.e. after EU Parliament's plenary session in Strasbourg).

    - Therefore, "for EU Commissioners' appointment, it's too early yet, because we must wait for the ratification of Lisbon Treaty" by all 27 EU Member countries, including naturally Ireland's Referendum on early October, said to "EuroFora" the influential President of EU Parliament's largest group of MEPs, Joseph Daul, expressing, however, the hope that a controversial deal with the head of the Socialist Group of MEPs, Martin Schultz of Germany, might hold for Barroso alone, at a forthcoming vote due to fix the Strasbourg plenary's Agenda.

    But MEPs reportedly just "postponed" for 1 week all their previously scheduled group meetings (See : http://www.euractiv.com/en/future-eu/barroso-unveil-summer-homework-week/article-184825 );

    However, while the choice of a new EU Commission's President by EU Parliament is supposed, according to many MEPs' wish, take place according to EU policy issues, paradoxically, this would mean that Barroso's bid would pass before even the anouncement of France and Germany's "initiatives" for EU's "new Horizons"...

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