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Fix trans-Atlantic rift, group declares

May 14, 2003 at 1:59 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, May 14 (UPI) -- A bipartisan group of 18 former cabinet-level officials from the departments of Defense, State and Treasury, along with officials from the the National Security Council and Congress, released a joint declaration Wednesday calling for a vigorous exploration of ways to strengthen and renew the trans-Atlantic relationship.

Simon Serfaty, director of the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, drafted the declaration with former Secretary of Defense Harold Brown, who organized the group.

"We have established this group because of our concerns that current trends on both sides of the Atlantic may jeopardize the achievements to which all of us, and many more, committed much of our public lives," said Serfaty. "Divisions are placing our solidarity in jeopardy at a time when unity is essential."

The Joint Declaration on Renewing the Trans-Atlantic Partnership makes several recommendations, including:

-- Re-launching the Arab-Israeli peace process: "Key to the success of the president's vision, reasserted on Feb. 27, 2003, are those measures that will not only assure Israel's security but also define the kind of state Palestinians can look toward at the close of the timetable already defined by the president," the declaration says.

-- Supporting free trade: "We urge that the Doha Round of trade negotiations ... be pursued with the utmost sense of urgency so that it can be successfully completed at the earliest possible time. Failure of these negotiations would ... significantly hamper our ability to wage successfully the ongoing wars against terrorism and its core roots," states the declaration.

-- U.S.-European Union consultation to improve crisis management: The declaration proposes that the United States and the countries of Europe should create a set of allied policies for impending crises, including allocation of responsibilities. "At some point over the next five years, a mechanism should be adopted that allows more direct consultation between the United States and the institutional bodies of the European Union," states the declaration.

-- Expansion of NATO's role: "In coming years, NATO's role during and beyond the war against terrorism needs to increase further. Neither NATO nor the EU is a full-service institution; neither is sufficient because both are necessary -- to win a war, end a war, and deal with the aftermath. For the latter, the EU can provide stability tools that complement well the NATO security toolbox. In short, while it may not be possible for us to take on everything together, it is imperative to make sure that taken together we do everything," states the declaration.

-- Sharing of defense technologies and increased defense spending: The declaration calls for reforming export control systems on both sides of the Atlantic. "(A)dded cooperation alone will not suffice without added money. European members of NATO and the member states of the EU should agree on minimum levels of real annual growth in defense spending they themselves deem necessary and realistic," the document says.

The declaration also states: "(F)ollowing the war in Iraq, more than ever before, moderation will be imperative during a get-reacquainted period when Americans should hear Europe's lingering criticism of pre-war debates and decisions with some indulgence, while Europeans should appraise U.S. military and diplomatic actions with some tolerance -- more, at any rate, than has been shown on either side of the Atlantic of late."

The Joint Declaration on Renewing the Trans-Atlantic Partnership has been endorsed by: Madeleine Albright, former secretary of state; Harold Brown, former secretary of defense; Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser; Frank Carlucci, former secretary of defense; Warren Christopher, former secretary of state; William Cohen, former secretary of defense; Robert Dole, former Senate majority leader and U.S. senator; Lawrence Eagleburger, former secretary of state; Stuart Eizenstat, former deputy secretary of treasury; Alexander Haig, former secretary of state; Lee Hamilton, former chairman, House International Relations Committee and U.S. representative; John Hamre, former deputy secretary of defense; Carla Hills, former U.S. Trade Representative; Sam Nunn, former chairman, Senate Armed Services Committee and U.S. senator; Paul O'Neill, former secretary of treasury; Charles Robb, former U.S. senator; William Roth, former chairman, Senate Committee on Finance and U.S. senator; and James Schlesinger, former secretary of defense.

The declaration is available on the CSIS Web site at csis.org/europe/2003_May_14_JointDeclr.pdf

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