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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.


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+ - 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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Swedish Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt, speaking  to "EuroFora", denied rumors on Turkey's attempts to avoid an EU check of its obligations on Cyprus on December 2009 by blackmailing Nicosia to either accept any deal with intransigeant Turkish claims contrary to EU values on the island's political issue, or face threats against the territorial integriy of the EU island, semi-occupied by Ankara's army.

On the contrary, the incoming EU President-in-office, speaking exclusively to "EuroFora", promissed that he will act for EU Council's decisions on December 2009 assessment of Turkey's commitments on Cyprus to be kept.


    Bildt was asked to react to Cyprus' President Christofias' denunciation, earlier this week, that some want to exert "pressure" on Cyprus in order for Turkey to escape from its obligations.

    Avoiding to mention any precise Deadline, Bildt, however, warned about "Consequences" in case of "failure" to reunite Cyprus, but without saying whose responsibility an eventual deadlock might be.  

 Asked by "EuroFora" if there is a risk for "Turkey's commitments to "be forgotten or downgraded", "despite crystal-clear EU Council decisions and EU Parliament's latest Resolution on the assessment to make at the end of this year on Turkey's obligations", according to rumours that, instead of pressing Turkey, on the contrary, there might be "pressure on Cyprus", even "blackmail", as Media reported and President Christofias denounced this week, Bildt denied :

- "No ! ", he clearly replied.


- On the contrary, invited by "EuroFora", to "reassure that the Swedish EU Presidency (7-12/2009) will keep a fair stance, based on principles",  Bildt promised that "we (Swedish EU Presidency) will be very clear on all of the decisions taken by the (EU) Council".

He added, however, that "we have very numerous decisions that have been taken" by EU Council, as if he warned, also, on something else.

- "'I am not aware of any sort of statements coming out today''", Bildt started to say, on our reference to Cyprus' President Christofias" denunciation of Turkish lobby's manoeuvers this week, replying earlier to 'another"EuroFora"'s question during a Press Conference at EU Parliament in Strasbourg.


 - '"I know the issues that you' are concerned with'", he added, remembering  the statements he gave us when Sweden was chairing the PanEuropean CoE on 2008.

- "But, obviously, .. I think that Cyprus' Peace negotiations are extremenly important".

- And "'I think that we are at a unique moment in History, in the sens that both (Cyprus') President Christofias and Mr. Talat (the Turkish Cypriot leader), are personally convinced of the need to overcome the division".

 - "It's 20 Years since the fall of Berlin Wal, but we still have a Capital in Europe (Nicosia) that's divided". ,

- 'I don't that we should loose any time in overcoming that"..

 - ''We should be aware of the fact that success will bring great benefits, but failure, will also have major consequences. There will not be Status Quo' " It's a question of seeking a solution, or entering another situation, which is somewhat difficult to see exactly how that could evolve", he warned.

- "That being said, this is a negotiation for Cyprus itself", Bildt admitted.

 - ''We (EU) can support, the (EU) Commission primarily, be technically helpful, and then, of course, there is a specific role for the UN, when it comes to the Cyprus' situation".  

- "At least so far. It might not be for ever'. Certainly not for ever, but for this period of time", Bildt added, skiping now any reference to concrete threats on UNO's Peace keeping force in face of more than 40.000 Ankara's soldiers, contrary to some Press claims, (See previous NewsReports).


     Replying to another "EuroFora"'s Question,  if anyone might attempt to "impose a Deadline for the conclusion" of Cyprus' Talks on December 2009, Bildt avoided to speak of any precise Time-frame, and indirectly evoked the fact that  35 Years of Turkish Invasion/Occupation obviously durated too long :

'- "If I was from Cyprus, I would say that the Deadline was Yesterday ! '",
Bildt concluded.

Cyprus' Government Spokesman, Stephanou, reportedly pointed out that "a settlement is possible on December if Turkey changes its stance", accepting a solution for the reunification of the island based on UNO resolutiona and EU principles.

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Earlier, EU Chair, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeld, highlighted an "historic opportunity" to "re-Unite" Cyprus according to EU's "basic Values"' (i.e. Human Rights) and 'Rules'", in a last-minute change of his draft speech to EU Parliament in Strasbourg.

    The initial Draft spoke only about "healing" the island.

    Significantly, Reinfeldt linked Cyprus' reunification with Turkey's obligations to respect EU's "Values" and "follow" EU's "common Rules" :

    - What is "called Membership Negotiations" should lead, "at- the end of the day", into "sharing a set of common Basic Values (i.e. Human Rights, Democracy, etc), and following common Rules", stressed Reinfeld from the outset.
    
    - "This is something that those on the Outside (of the EU), are now  contemplating", up "to Ankara", for "a solution" on "Cyprus", observed the EU Chairman, immediately afterwards..  

    - "Both sides of Cyprus have been granted a historic opportunity to together reach an agreement on a solution to re-Unite the island, that has been divided for far too long", said Reinfeldt, modifying his draft text.


-  "The Swedish Presidency will act ...in accordance with Commitments EU has made, on the basis of Criteria that apply", "as a Honest Broker", he promised.    

- "To those on the inside (of the EU), allowing the membership process to become an opportunity to solve protracted disputes, can be tempting", he added.


    "In such cases, we must find solutions that can benefit both sides, and open up a way forward. Otherwise, it would jeopardize the progress we have made towards EU integration", Reinfeldt said.

***

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