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Home arrow newsitems arrow EUROCORPS+ISAF Chief of Staff General Bavinchove to EuroFora:Afghanistan test boosts dual capacities

EUROCORPS+ISAF Chief of Staff General Bavinchove to EuroFora:Afghanistan test boosts dual capacities

Written by ACM
Wednesday, 19 December 2012
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*Strasbourg/Press Club/Angelo Marcopolo/- Speaking via a Tele-Conference from Kabul to Strasbourg, EUROCORPS' Commander, who serves now also as Chief of Staff at the International Force for Afghanistan (ISAF), General Olivier de Bavinchove (France), replied to "EuroFora"s Questions on that unique Multi-National force's potential role in forthcoming developments of EU's Security and Defence policy, while praising also its "Dual", or "Civilian-Military" capacities, (composed by German, French, Spanish, Belgian and Luxembourg full Members, to which was recently added also Poland, as well as several other EU Countries' "Liaison Officers", and able to Mobitor Pluri-modal, Air-Land-Sea, Military, Peace-keeping or Humanitarian operations), at the eve of a January 2013 exceptional European event, currently prepared at its Headquarters in Strasbourg, to celebrate the completion of its Return from a succesful but challenging Top Mission in Central Asia, as well as the 20th and 50th Anniversaries since the creation of such a tool, and since the Franco-German Treaty "of Elysée" which made it possible, respectively (See Infra).
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 - "EuroFora" observed that ,"Recently, in (the latest EU Summit) in Brussels, interesting developments on EU Security and Defence policy re-started, and you (EUROCORPS and ISAF's Chief of Joint Staff) are at the Heart of all this : EUROCORPS was already twice in Afghanistan, and your (current) Mission is the most important, as more strategic, concluding and high-ranked".


=> Thus, - "Do you sincerely feel that your Experience, both personal and of all (EUROCORPS) officers working together, would usefully serve in the Futiure, also in various other, differend Missions, that you might have at EU's Neighbourhood or elsewhere in the World ?", "EuroFora" asked General de Bavinchove.


- "Because there is recently much talk about such possible developments, precisely from next year : 2013, as if some might be timely waiting for your return" back to Europe, we explained.
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+  "We'll celebrate EUROCORPS' 20th Anniversary, soon in Strasbourg, on the 31st of January 2013), together with the Mayor (Senator Ries) and the Defence Ministers of all EUROCORPS' Countries, who will come there, etc, anounced from the outset, in reply to "EuroFora"s question, its experienced Commander, and currently also ISAF's Chief of Staff.


 - When "(French) President Mitterand and (German) Chancellor Kohl hade decided to create EUROCORPS, 20 years ago, this was part of a Vision for Europe as a (World) power, able to defend itself", reminded, in this regard, General de Bavinchove,


 - "And, I think that this Tool, EUROCORPS, after 20 Years of Experience, even in Afghanistan and various other areas in the World, demonstrates that the idea which was behind its creation, was well-founded", he stressed.


- "The Principles set up since EUROCORPS' creation, Inter-Allies' principles, were very fast joined also by Spain, by Belgium and Luxembourg, etc., and now also by Poland", (in addition to "Liaison Officers" sent to Strasbourg's EUROCORPS Headquarters also by various other countries).


- What our action here (in Afghanistan) also shows is that, with EUROCORPS we already have an immediately Operational (effective) Tool, while we also proved that we can master NATO's procedures, .. i.e. a Commanding Unit able to be projected iat a specified area, in the framework of a Coalition, and to use All the means and processes used by NATO in order to act. It's also for the European Union, a tool which has equivalent capabilities", he added.


- "But, above all, there are 2 Essential elements, which constitute EUROCORPS' main Force, and which cannot be found in any other European Military grouping Today, neither in 2012 nor in 2013" :

eurocorps_intw_bavinchov_400

- "It's a Multi-Nationality" dimension, "both in terms of Proportion, f.ex. between French, German, Spanish, Polish, Belgian, etc., who Work Together  every day, Fight together everyday, Planify together everyday, Speak to eachother every day, and thus demonstrate, everyday, that they speak the same Language, share the same Values, dispose the same Capabilities, and that they are Motivated by one and same, common Ideal".


- "And this, even in Long-term Operational plans, here (i.e. also in Afghanistan), inside a Coalition which is mainly directed by our American Friends and Allies, cannot pass without being noticed", particularly when we've "seen that Power of Building this Tool, that represents EUROCORPS, in terms of Mastering Capabilities, and of working (also) inside NATO, in terms of capacity to work together, among Officers from many differend (EU) Countries, and by mastering a certain number of Values, which are extremely Important, particularly when it comes about working for the benefit of a Third Country, as it's the case in Afghanistan".


=> So, "I think that, in the forthcoming 20 Years, there is no room for anything else than EUROCORPS, and this wil be soon explained and demonstrated also at a Political level", the experienced Top General pleaded.


- "Also because, during a period in which we face Financial and Economic difficulties, everybody can see that this Tool (EUROCORPS) proved to be a well-founded, Good Idea ,  now established and also put in practice. And realize that, when it comes to consider the Next 20 Years, and what actions should be undertaken, in order to make it even more Performant and even more Able to fullfil the Political Missions to which we (EUROCORPS) are committed".


- "That''s which made the greatest impression to me, during this EUROCORPS' deployment (in Afghanistan), which I followed since it arrived here, last January (2012), i.e. 2 Months after my own arrival earlier, it was set up, undertook Responsibilities, and fullfiled them, doing its job remarkably well".


- So that, today, it's difficult for me to tell if I'm speaking to a French or to a German or to a Spanish Officer, etc., since, what counts in reality is that I'm adressing myself to an (EUROCORPS') Officer who knows how to do his job, and does it well, according to the directives that he's been given, his national origins having passed, somehow, to the background, and it's his Competence, his Ability to work together, in a Multi-National context, which makes the difference", General de Bavinchov concluded on this point.


------------
+ - At some brief introductory remarks, "You have already evoked, my General, in addition to the purely Military aspects (of EUROCORPS' Tasks), also Intelligence, Logistics, a part of Rule of Law including Law Enforcement, Education, (Economic and Communication) Infrastructures, etc", "EuroFora" went on to observe also.  


-"There is much talk, Today, of what is called the "Dual" aspect of Defence", (i.e. both Military and Civic, etc). "Do you think that, your Experience, in this domain too, which seems of particular importance at this moment, could develop further this Dual, Civilian-Military aspects at the same moment, as integral parts of an efficient, overall Security and Defence Policy ?", we asked ISAF's Chief of Joint Staff.
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- "It's absolutely Essential, what you call as "Dual" aspects, alias known also as "Inter-Agency". -"It's of Vital Importance !", EUROCORPS' Head stressed from the outset in reply to "EuroFora's" 2nd Question.


 - "Soldiers were very much requested, during these Decades, in all Countries : American, Brittish, French, German, etc., to act in various domains in which they weren't often prepared to act,


+ "But we have, in all European Countries, such capacities, such competences and initiatives. There is very much talk about what is called a "Comprehensive Approach", that is to say the Integration in the Qualifications of these components, which are more Civilian-Military than Militaro-Civilian, and I'm a strong Supporter of that", as he pointed out.


+ In this regard, "EUROCORPS has a unique Chance to be (Headquartered) in Strasbourg, because it's in a big European Capital" city, "where are also located several Great Academic Institutions, f.ex. a School of Political Sciences, the ENA (prestigious French University for the Highest level of Public Administrations, progressively opening also towards Franco-German, panEuropean and even International Education and Training on Governance), but also an important Political presence f.ex. through EU Parliament, the CoE, many Permanent Representations, Consulates, etc. of various European and other Countries, and, being inside such a great City, we (EUROCORPS) have already started to develop relations, already since my predecessor, with all these big Institutions, and we shall continue to do so,


    - Simply "because the Operations of Tomorrow, at whatever Area and Moment we might intervene, are operations placed under the Aims of "Security, Governance, and Development, in the framework of which are absolutely required also several very Specific Know-how (expertise), at various degrees, right from the start :


    - "That's of Fundamental Importance, and has already started to be organized, f.ex. inside the U.S. Army that I can see here, i.e. this kind of Civilian-Military Integration, via one of their own Administrative Processes, with a System of contracts, etc..


    - "At any case, EUROCORPS must be, from this point of view, not only a Laboratory, but also a Tool which will allow to Develop this Integration, and this insertion of Competences and Experiences inside it, in order to be able, in Future Deployments, in Various other Areas, where we shall have to face Differend Challenges than those existing at Afhanistan, to have a better Preparation to Act, right from the Start, and to Judge better the adequate Priorities needed for obtaining the desired Results", he pointed out.


    As I'm a strong Supporter of that, we (EUROCORPS) must, more and more, Integrate those Competences and Capabilities, (also) with the development of Commandment structures integrating these Competences and Know-How, so that this will allow us to be extremely Efficient, in Time Deadlines always measured, which will be assigned to us", concluded General de Bavinchov in reply to "EuroFora"s 2nd Question (See supra).


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+ EUROCORPS' Chief of Staff, General Buchsenschmidt to "EuroFora" on the 3 Symbols of the forthcoming, January 31, 2013 European event in Strasbourg's Headquarters :
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=> - "On the 31st of January, 2013, we (EUROCORPS) shall celebrate in Strasbourg no less than Three (3) exceptional Events : - (A) EUROCORPS' return from ISAF's Headquarters at Kaboul (Afghanistan), where General de Bavinchov served as Chief of the International Force's joint Staff", but also the Double Anniversaries of (B) 20 Years since the creation of EUROCORPS (1993), which became possible thanks to the "Elysée Treaty" (C) agreed by Adenauer and De Gaulle 50 Years earlier, on 1963, explained, later-on, speaking to "EuroFora",  the Multi-National force's Chief of Staff, Belgian General Guy Buchsenschmidt.


 - "Elysée Treaty, agreed by Adenauer and De Gaulle, established the Foundations of what could  become, later on, a European Defence Policy, thanks to an Historic move which allowed, for the 1st time, to Germans and French to sit together around a Table and jointly take Decisions mutually agreed, which culminated, later-on, in the creation of EUROCORPS, from 1993", General Buschsenschmidt reminded us.

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(+ Fast Translation from the Original in French)

(../..)

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(NDLR : "DraftNews", as already sent earlier to "EuroFora"s Subscribers/Donors. A more accurate, full Final Version may be published asap).

***
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    The incoming Swedish EU Presidency (July-December 2009) may still remain in favour of Turkey's controversial EU bid, despite June 2009 EU Elections' results, but it has "very strong demands on Turkey"'s obligation to respect EU Rules, said the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, to "EuroFora", reacting to critical Press reports.

    - "I know (that) the link is often made also to Sweden's position on Turkey"'s controversial EU bid. Indeed, "we (Swedish EU Presidency) are very much engaged in the future membership of Turkey, but not without fullfiling all the Criteria".

    - "It's very clear that we (Swedish EU Presidecny) have very Strong Demands on Turkey, in a sort of concept for Future membership of the Union, ...which will be a Long Process...", she stressed.

    This means, in particular, "the Copenhagen Criteria (on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law), and also the adaptation to the Acquis of the European Union".

     - "If you listen to what Mr. Bildt (the Swedish Foreign Minister) says on Turkey at different occasions, it's very clear : We want Turkey to become part of the Union, in the Future. But we want it to fullfil all the Criteria : The Acquis of the European Union. That's very clear", she concluded.

    The Senior Official of the Swedish Foreign Ministry was reacting to critical Press Reports, from Brussels' Journalists invited by EU Commission's secretariat to Stockholm, who claimed that Bildt was abusing of a ..."Whip" (sic !) against Cyprus, by "threatening" the presence of UNO's Peace-keeping force at the "Green line" which separates the island's Government-controlled areas from the territories occupied by Ankara's army, if Nicosia didn't accept any political solution, regardless of Turkey's demands, before the end of 2009.

        Governing AKEL Party's new Secretary General, Andros Kyprianou, reacted by declaring that no-one can threat the People of Cyprus : -"We shall decide for our Future, and nobody else",  he reportedly said, asking to "keep calm". "In order to find a Solution soon, certain basic Principles must be respected", he stressed, calling those who feel an urgency to use their influence on Turkey. Other Political Parties were more critical.

    This was a reference to recently reported statements by Turkish Minister Bagis, Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan and Turkey's National Security Council (a Military-Political body), accused to push towards a partitionist "2 States" solution, contrary to UNO SC Resolutions for Cyprus' reunification.

    December 2009 is a crucial moment for EU's appraisal of Turkey's controversial EU bid, because EU Council has decided to review then Ankara's compliance with the European position on the recognition of Cyprus' Government, which was clearly set out by an EU reply of 21 September 2005 to Turkish Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan's claims, refusing to recognize even the existence of EU Member Cyprus, in controversial statements he made to London (former EU chair) on July 29, 2005.

    EU Parliament's latest Resolution on Turkey, adopted on March 2009 in Strasbourg, warned Ankara that "the non-fulfillment of Turkey's commitments... by December 2009, may further seriously affect the process of Negotiations" with the EU.

    In practice, the issue boils down to Ankara's "embargo" against Ships and Airplanes using Cyprus' seaports or airports at the strategic EU island, which traditionaly hosts one of the World's biggest Shipping flags. EU has already "freezed" 6 relevant Chapters in EU - Turkey Negotiations since December 2006, after Ankara refused to fullfil a commitment it had undertaken when EU had decided to open controversial "accession" negotiations with Turkey, back on December 2005.

    - "As far as EU - Turkey relations are concerned, it's clear that Turkey needs to fullfil its obligation of full, non-discriminatory implementation of the additional Protocol (to "EC-Turkey Association Agreement"),  This is an important issue....and should be addresseed as soon as possible as it clearly affects the pace of the accession negotiations.Issues covered by the Declaration of September 2005 will continue to be followed up, and progress is urgently awaited", warned earlier in Strasbourg the out-going Czech EU Presidency (former vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra).

    But the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, dismissed "interpretations" by "some" that Foreign Minister Carl Bildt was reportedly "threatening" Cyprus with consequences on the UNFICYP, if it doesn't accept any solution until December 2009, while Turkey is reportedly delaying in an attempt to impose a partitionist "2 States" solution.

    On the contrary, Julin, stressed that "Sweden has strong demands on Turkey'"s respect of "Copenhagen Criteria and EU Acquis".

    Meanwhile, Sweden  is "concerned" about the risk of "Stalemate" in Cyprus' Talks, but is well aware that "the main responsibilities lie with the two leaders and the UNO", Europe playing only a role of "facilitator".

    After carefully verifying, the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, stressed to "EuroFora" that Bildt's reference to UNFICYP "was not linked to a Threat", and dismissed those who "interpreted" it so.

    On the contrary, the Swedish EU Presidency acknowledged the fact that Peace Talks are mainly for the UN and the leaders of the Cypriot communities, EU's role being limited into that of a "facilitator".

    As for Turkey's reported attempts to impose a "2 States' solution", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service sharply replied by stressing that Turkey must respect the "EU Acquis" rules.

    In particular :

    - "Basically he (Bildt) underlined that it's the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus and the UN that have the main responsibilities for solving the problem", started to say the Swedish Senior Official to "EuroFora", referring to the above-mentioned "briefing".

    - "But the EU had a role in sort of pointing out the benefits and facilitating a little bit the outcome for the settlement of the whole Cyprus' issue", she added.

    - "And he did state the Fact, that the rest of the World (i.e. USA, etc) will, of course, look at the differend issues which are at the table, and the future of the UN Peace keeping force is part of what is at the table", she admitted.

    - "I understand that some have interpreted that as a Threat, by the Swedish Minister" "But", in reality, "it's a statement of a Fact, that, when we'll look at the differend issues, one of the issues on which we shall have to take a stand on, is the future of the UN Peace keeping force in Cyprus".

    Indeed, one of the questions usually raised for a Solution of Cyprus' issue is what International and/or European or other Guarantees, by a Peace-keeping force, might be needed afterwards, eventually for a transitory period.

    Questioned anew by "EuroFora" whether (according to critical Press Reports) this could be taken as a veiled warning that, if Cyprus didn't accept any Turkish demand for any solution whatever, it might be left alone to face Ankara's Military Invasion/Occupation, she denied :

    - "He (Bildt) didn't say it in that way"... "It was not linked to a threat, or anything like that", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service stressed.

    On the contrary, "he (Bildt) underlined that the main responsibility lies with the parties concerned on the island". "The EU can try to facilitate and show the benefits of reaching a settlement. But also, when the EU and the rest of the World (i.e. USA) will have to look at it, they will look at all the Facts on the table, and the presence of the UN Peace-keeping force is one".

    And "he (Bildt) didn't speak about that at all", she replied to "EuroFora" question on Turkey's reported attemps to impose, in one way of another, a partitionist "2 States solution".

    Asked whether Bildt's aim was to incite both parties to move forward efficiently, she agreed :

    - In fact, "the EU is really very concerned with the Stalemate in the situation. Yes !", the Head of Sweden's Foreign Ministry's Press Service anounced. That's why Bildt "was hoping for the two parties (i.e. for Turkey's also) to engage and break, a little-bit, the present stalemate, come to a solution of the issue" of Cyprus.

    But, replying  to a "EuroFora"s question on the risk, denounced by several politicians in case of strict Time Deadlines, for Turkey to provoke a stalemate and wait for the time to come to impose a partitionist "2 States' solution", she reacted by pointing at Turkey's obligation to respect "EU Acquis" :

    - "Turkey must fullfil the EU Acquis : That's clear !", the Swedish Senior Official stressed.

    More details are expected when Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt will debate his Programme with new MEPs at EU Parliament's plenary mid-July in Strasbourg, that he has visited already in 2008.

    Foreign Minister Carl Bildt became familiar with Strasbourg's CoE last year, when Sweden chaired the PanEuropean organization of Human Rights. As EU chairman-in-office, he will also chair the 27-member States strong EU Group inside the 47-member States strong CoE.

    Minister for EU affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom is well known at EU Parliament, where she has been an active MEP of the Liberal Group for many years, following also Press Freedom issues.

    Both have already made various statements at "EuroFora", on differend topical matters.

    ***

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