- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 5, 2005

NATO needs money

The new U.S. ambassador to NATO is worried that the alliance cannot fulfill its new mission of responding to global crises because it is “woefully underfunded.”

Victoria Nuland, in her first public address, told an audience in Brussels that the 26 member nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization have a duty to train security forces in other countries to help deal with regional conflicts.

She said the NATO role in Afghanistan is the best example of this goal, but the mission also exposes the alliance’s need to increase funding for the deployed NATO troops.

“We think NATO has huge untapped potential as a security trainer,” the ambassador said at a forum sponsored by the German Marshall Fund last month. “How much better is it to train others to manage their own security than to have to send troops in a crisis?

“The good news is that we have a real and growing ambition to handle security in one of the most dangerous places in the world, Afghanistan. But are we prepared to match that level of ambition with what it takes?”

She said the U.S. goals for the scheduled NATO summit next year are for the alliance to refine its existing structure and in 2008 to consider further expansion of the membership.

Greek in Washington

The new Greek ambassador this week asked President Bush to help reunite Cyprus and solve the dispute over the formal name of Macedonia, which is also the name applied to northern Greece.

Mr. Bush promised to work on both issues when he accepted the diplomatic credentials of Ambassador Alexandros P. Mallias.

He also thanked the ambassador for Greece’s assistance to the victims of Hurricane Katrina and its support for the U.S. goal of spreading democracy throughout the Middle East.

“We appreciate the Greek offer to hold a ministerial meeting next year to promote democracy, social justice and reform for the broader Middle East region,” Mr. Bush said. “As the cradle of democracy, Athens could not be a more fitting venue.”

Mr. Mallias said Greece stands “side by side” with the United States “as good NATO allies” in the fight against “global terrorism and threats against peace, freedom and democracy.”

On the contentious issues of Cyprus and Macedonia, Mr. Mallias said Greece supports a “just, functional and viable solution to the Cyprus issue.” The ethnic-Greek government of the divided island is internationally recognized as the legitimate representative of the whole island, while the ethnic-Turkish regime is recognized only by Turkey.

Greece insists that the country on its northern border change its name because of historic Greek claims to the name, Macedonia. The country was admitted to the United Nations as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Mr. Bush pledged his assistance in finding “a mutually agreeable solution to the Macedonia name issue.”

Mongolia trade

A bipartisan coalition is lining up to support a free-trade agreement with Mongolia to reward the Central Asian nation for embracing democratic and free-market principles.

Rep. David Dreier, chairman of the House Rules Committee, told a visiting Mongolian parliamentary delegation that his resolution calling for a U.S.-Mongolian Free-Trade Agreement provides a forum for both Republicans and Democrats “to renew commitments … to an agenda of trade liberalization.”

The resolution also cites Mongolia’s support for the war on terrorism and its commitment of troops to help U.S. forces in Iraq.

“Mongolia has proven itself to be deeply committed to both liberalizing its economy and strengthening U.S.-Mongolia ties,” the California Republican told the delegation led by Sukhbaatar Batbold, a leading member of the Mongolian parliament.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.

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