Gas Week

EWN Publishing

Australia gets closer to NATO: to develop interoperability with NATO forces, share classified information and training

Posted by gasweek on 28 September, 2007

Australia would sign a treaty with NATO in a move that would boost security and intelligence ties and assist the evolution of the 60-year-old Cold War alliance of democracies into a global force, according to New York correspondent David Nason, reported The Australian (22/9/2007, p. 12). Afghanistan strengthens relationship: “The treaty is due to be signed in New York next week by Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer,” the newspaper said. “Australia is officially a NATO ‘contact country’, but the ex­pression does not cover the depth of the relationship, which has strengthened considerably since Diggers deployed in Afghanistan began operating under NATO command two years ago.”

Australian criticism of NATO effort: A spokesperson for Downer said the treaty would give Australia access to NATO security assessments, including those on international terrorism, and to operational matters affect­ing Australian Defence Force personnel. The Australian reported the document would go before parliament’s Joint Stand­ing Committee on Treaties for final ratification. The treaty breakthrough comes a week after Defence Minister Brendan Nelson criticised the NATO countries for failing to carry their share of the military burden in Afghanistan. Nelson said NATO’s deployment of 40,000 troops in Afghanistan was unacceptable, given that it had more than two million troops under its command.

NATO operations no longer just European: “In recent years, NATO has fought the Taliban in Afghani­stan, been involved in training security forces in Iraq, providing logistical support to the African Union mission in Darfur, and assisting in tsunami, hurricane and earthquake relief operations in Indonesia, New Orleans and Pakistan respectively. Australia would develop interoperability with NATO forces. This was to include the sharing of classified information and train­ing in how to respond to a ‘dirty bomb’ attack,” the newspaper said.

The Australian, 22/9/2007, p. 12

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