Welcome, President Obama

Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday Mike Gapes MP welcomed the visit of United States President Barack Obama and called for renewed co-operation between European countries and the US in Nato.

Here is the Hansard extract.

Mike Gapes (Ilford, South) (Lab/Co-op)
: As we welcome President Obama to this country and to Europe, is it not time to congratulate NATO, reaffirm the transatlantic partnership between Europe and the United States and ensure that European Union countries and the US work together on security issues for the future?

David Miliband: My hon. Friend has made a very important point. The summit on Friday and Saturday marks the 60th anniversary of the foundation of NATO, and it is an important chance to look forward. One of the foundations of NATO’s future, whatever the debates about how it should combine the defence of its members with operations beyond its borders, is that it must embody the transatlantic alliance that has served Europe and North America so well over the past 60 years. I hope that the meeting on Friday and Saturday can be more than a “celebration”. First, it needs to be a chance to chart the future in respect of Afghanistan, the biggest and most important NATO mission currently under way. It should also start the debate about how NATO can look forward, in the next 10 or 20 years, to working in a very different context from that in which it was created.

posted 1 April 2009

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