President Sarkozy confirms France will rejoin NATO's International Military Structure, 19 March 2009
NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION LETTER FROM NICOLAS SARKOZY, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC, TO THE ATLANTIC ALLIANCE HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT (Paris, 19 March 2009), www.diplomatie.fr.
Our Alliance is preparing to celebrate its 60th anniversary. This will, I am convinced, be a great moment of unity and reaffirmation of the transatlantic partnership.
As you know, 18 months ago, I launched a debate in France on the future of our defence and national security policy and on our relations with NATO. On 11 March this year, I set out to the French people my conviction that international and European developments, those in our defence like the development of our position in NATO over nearly 20 years, dictated that France no longer delay upgrading her relations with the Atlantic Alliance. With this debate completed, I wish to inform you of my decision: France will resume her full place in the Alliance structures, in which she will now participate completely.
This choice is that of an independent nation, standing together with its Allies and determined to shoulder all its responsibilities in the task of ensuring the Alliance's security and of peace. This is also the choice in favour of a Europe which is affirming its identity in the world and in the Atlantic Alliance. The Europeans must play a growing role in it and develop their military capabilities for the use of the European Union and Atlantic Alliance. The European Security and Defence Policy and the Atlantic Alliance are complementary and are the two faces of one policy. I am convinced this is in the interest of all the Allies.
Finally, it's a choice for our Alliance's revitalization. The Alliance has already been transformed since the end of the Cold War, but still has to adapt to the new strategic environment and new threats. A substantive debate without any taboos on the conditions of our common security is necessary. So I should like the Strasbourg and Kehl summit to signal the launch of ambitious efforts to develop a new Strategic Concept.
I look forward to this 60th anniversary being the opportunity for a debate on our Alliance's future and laying the foundations of a strengthened transatlantic partnership./.
Source: French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, www.diplomatie.fr.