Belgium’s Candidacy for UN Security Council-5

    “Fostering Consensus, Acting for Peace

Belgian Development Cooperation is known for its consistent core funding of UN organizations and pledged to at least 50% of its aid to least developed countries. ( Belgium MFA) 

Only in 2016 Belgium’s Development Cooperation  donated €28 million to United Nations World Food Programme that reached people in 8 couturiers. (published by UN WFP January 9,2017) 

News from MFA of Belgium                                News from Belgian Armed-Forces 
News from Belgium Mission to the UN                     Follow us : @USEUWAffairs  

The U.S Army Europe and the 7th Army Training Command in Combined Resolve VIII

The U.S-European Armed Forces are participating in one of the most crucial exercises of the U.S Army Europe:                                                             Combined Resolved VIII

The exercise is launched on April 19th and is under leadership of the United States 7th Army Command based in Germany, will be continued through June 16.  The participants of over 3,400 Soldiers are from the Armed Forces of  Albania, Finland, Hungary, Kosovo, Lithuania, Macedonia, Romania, Slovenia, Ukraine, and the United States. 

Described by the U.S Army Europe/the 7th Army Training Command

The Exercise Combined Resolve VIII consists of three phases.

  • The first phase includes a combined arms live-fire exercise on the Grafenwoehr Training Area.
  • The Second phase will include a command post exercise
  • And the last phase will then include force-on-force maneuver training at the U.S Army’s Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels.  April 13, 2017 © US Army Europe/7th ATC

The central objectives: to strengthen U.S-European Armed/Rotational Forces and enhance their interoperability.  

Sources: U.S Army Europe Public Affairs/The 7th Army Training Command                                                                    Follow us @USEUWAffairs

President Trump Reaffirmed the U.S Commitment to the NATO Alliance

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg traveled to U.S, and met with President Donald Trump on April 12.  During this meeting President Trump reassured NATO of the United States’ unwavering commitment and the continuation of supports

Press conference by President Donald Trump and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. April 12 2017 © NATO Press Office

The two leaders also discussed a wide scope of subjects covering: Syria, Iraq, defeating ISIS, other  International security issues, and the up coming NATO summit in its headquarters Brussels in May.

Excerpts from President Trump’s remarks in the joint press conference

“Sixty-eight years ago this month, not far from where we are gathered today, President Harry Truman spoke at the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty. In the nearly seven decades since Harry Truman spoke those words, the NATO alliance has been the bulwark of international peace and security.”

“NATO allies defeated communism and liberated the captive nations of the Cold War. They secured the longest period of unbroken peace that Europe has ever known. This enduring partnership is rooted out of so many different things, but our common security is always number one, and our common devotion to Human dignity and Freedom.”  

“It’s my hope that NATO will take on an increased role in supporting our Iraqi partners in their battle against ISIS.”

“We’re not here to stand on ceremony, but to develop real strategies to achieve safety, security and peace. We’re here to protect the Freedom and prosperity of our citizens and to give them the future they so richly deserve.                                                                                                                                                               Secretary general, I’m honored to have you here today and to reaffirm our commitment to this alliance and to the enduring values that we proudly — and I mean very proudly — share.”  April 12, 2017 ©NATO Press Office

Excerpts from NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg’s remarks in the joint press conference

“Thank you so much, Mr. President. We just had an excellent and very productive meeting. And it’s really an honour to meet you for the first time, here in the White House.

We agree that NATO is a bedrock of security both for Europe and for the United States.  Two World Wars and a Cold War have taught us all that peace in Europe is not only important for Europeans, but is also important for the prosperity and the security of North America. 

So a strong NATO is good for Europe, but a strong NATO is also good for the United States.  And therefore I welcome the very strong commitment of the United States to the security of Europe.                 We see this commitment not only in words but also in deeds.

Over the past months, thousands of US troops have been deploying to Europe. A clear demonstration that America stands with Allies to protect peace and defend our Freedom.” 

“Together, we represent half of the world’s economic and military power. No other superpower has ever had such a strategic advantage.”

“We discussed many different topics during our meeting today, including the horrendous use of chemical weapons in Syria. Any use of chemical weapons is unacceptable, cannot go unanswered, and those responsible must be held accountable.

So Mr. President, thank you once again. I look forward to working with you to keeping the Alliance strong.”  April 12, 2017 © NATO Press Office

Addition: NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg in a town hall meeting at George Washington University’s Elliott School.

Sources: The White House (Office of the Press Secretary)/NATO Press Office                                                            Follow us  @USEUWAffairs        

 

By Catherine Stella Schmidt  (Copy righted material)

 

The United States Chairmanship of the Arctic Council and its Principal Objectives

The United States will host on May 11,  the 10th Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska.  During this  high level Council’s assembly the work and achievements of the United States Chairmanship of the Arctic Council 2015-May 2017  will be reviewed, finalized and celebrated. At the final part of the event the two year rotational Chairmanship of the Council will be transferred to Finland for the upcoming term. 

A view to U.S Chairmanship of the Council and its achievements

  • Meeting U.S. national security needs.
  • Protecting the Arctic environment and conserving its living resources.
  • Ensuring environmentally-sustainable natural resource management and economic development in the region.
  • Strengthening institutions for cooperation among the eight Arctic nations (the United States, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, and Sweden).
  • Involving the Arctic’s indigenous communities in decisions that affect them.
  • Enhancing scientific monitoring and research on local, regional, and global environmental issues.     © The U.S Department of State

                             ……..have been  the United States principal objectives  during its two years Chairmanship of the Council, upon which the U.S has worked to bring the long term social, economic and environmental developments in the Arctic region while engendering closer partnerships among the member States. 

       

 

News from U.S. Arctic         

 

                    News from Department of State

  1. Special: The United States will host, on May 11 2017, the 10th Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska.                                                                                                                                                                                     Sources: Department of State/U.S Arctic Council                       Follow us @USEUWAffairs  

European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats is Established in Finland

With the initiative of Finland  The European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats is established in its capital city Helsinki.

“Finland will be proud to host, here in Helsinki, the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats. We are proud, in particular, for two reasons. 

Firstly, the Centre represents a concrete step in building Resilience to hybrid threats in the EU Member States and NATO Allies.  Secondly, the Centre is a real boost for the cooperation between the EU and NATO, facing the challenge of hybrid threats hand in hand”  Highlighted Minister Soini, for Foreign Affairs of Finland April 11, 2017 © Finland MFA

The Memorandum of Understanding for the establishment of the  Centre was signed on April 11, by Finland (the host country), France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. More European and  NATO member States will join the Centre in the coming months.  The European External Action and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization had also their  Representatives in the ceremony, and conveyed their continued supports for the establishment of the Centre and its mission

 

 

 

Signing of the Memorandum of Understanding for the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats by Finland’s Representative April 11 2017 © Finland’s PM’s Office/Laura Kotila

The Centre will engage in strategic level dialogue, research, training and consultations. It will also conduct practical training exercises aiming to improve readiness to counter hybrid threats. The purpose of the Centre is to raise awareness of hybrid threats and societies’ vulnerabilities that can be exploited in hybrid operations. The aim is also to help foster the resilience of societies.”  Described Finnish Government on its Press Release April 11, 2017 © Finland Gov Communication department

NATO welcomes the establishment of the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats in Helsinki and will participate actively in the Centre’s activities.” Stated NATO April 11, 2017 © NATO press office

The EU welcomes the establishment of the Centre of Excellence for countering hybrid threats today by the Government of Finland. This will contribute to the strengthened cooperation between the EU and NATO, in line with the Joint Communication on countering hybrid threats that was adopted in April 2016.”  Announced EU External Action, Press release April 11, 2017 © EU External Action

Special: Watch the Memorandum ceremony and the speech of Minister Timo Soini for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Sources: NATO Press Office/ EU External Action/ Finland MFA/ Finalnd Diplomatic mission to U.S/ Finland Government                                                                                    Follow us@USEUWAffairs

The United States Military Strike on Syrian Airfield and the Global Endorsements

The United States, historically,  has been always the ultimate hope when all others failed.                      Despite the false media propaganda of  authoritarian systems, the United States with its  enduring philosophical stance for defending Humanity—has immensely been….. the timeless Force of Liberator…..for those afflicted in suffering, imprisonment or chains.

In response to the recent chemical attack by the Syrian regime on its own people including children, President Trump  ordered  Military Strikes on Syrian airfield– sending a strong message that the United States will not stay silent where such an atrocity had been committed.     

April 2017 was not the first time that the Syrian government, with the similar pretexts or denial, fired the chemical weapons on its civilians. In the  previous years the regime in Damascus had also carried out such an internationally prohibited means.

The use of chemical weapons against innocent people will not be tolerated.  Stated the U.S Department of Defense April 6 2017 

The United States strike operations were launched on April 6 U.S EDT  (4:40 a.m, April 7, local  time-Syria) on Al Shayrat airfield in Syria– and were endorsed by most countries around the World, all European governments including France, Israel and Germany.                                                                                                                            

“The strike was conducted using Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs) launched from the destroyers USS Porter and  USS Ross  in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.  A total of 59 TLAMs targeted aircraft, hardened aircraft shelters, petroleum and logistical storage, ammunition supply bunkers, air defense systems, and radars.   As always, the U.S. took extraordinary measures to avoid civilian casualties and to comply with the Law of Armed Conflict.  Every precaution was taken to execute this strike with minimal risk to personnel at the airfield.                                                                                                   The strike was a proportional response to Assad’s heinous act. Shayrat Airfield was used to store chemical weapons and Syrian air forces. Elaborated the Pentagon Spokesman Capt. Davis. April 6, 2017 © DoD

“Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched.  It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.  There can be no dispute  that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention, and ignored the urging of the U.N. Security Council.”  Statement by President Donald Trump April 6 2017 © The White House Press Secretary office

“The Syrian regime bears the full responsibility for this development. NATO has consistently condemned Syria’s continued use of chemical weapons as a clear breach of international norms and agreements.  Any use of chemical weapons is unacceptable, cannot go unanswered, and those responsible must be held accountable. NATO considers the use of chemical weapons as a threat to international peace and security.”   NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg April 7, 2017 © NATO

Minister of Defense, Claus Hjort Frederiksen of Denmark, supports the U.S Military action during the night between Thursday and Friday against an airbase in central Syria. (Unofficial translation) 

“With this action, the United States has sent a clear and unambiguous signal to the Assad-regime in Damascus that the use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated and will have clear consequences. The Danish government supports the US military action, and I consider the US reaction completely appropriate in light of the heinous and horrifying nature of the chemical weapons attack against civilians in northern Syria a few days ago,”  Stated Minister of Defense, Claus Hjort Frederiksen. April 7, 2017 © Ministry of Defense of Denmark/The Diplomatic Mission of Denmark to U.S.A  

Denmark supports the U.S response to the abuses carried out against the Syrian civilian population. (Unofficial translation) 

“The government supports the U.S reaction to the Assad regime’s gruesome abuses against the Syrian civilian population. I appreciate that the pressure on Assad is now increasing. It must be clear that attacks with chemical weapons against civilians are not acceptable.”  Expressed Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen. April 7, 2017 © MFA of Denmark/The Diplomatic Mission of Denmark to U.S.A  

“The United Kingdom  supports the U.S. air strike on the Al Shayrat airfield because war crimes have consequences.”  Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, UK Permanent Representative to the UN. April 7, 2017 © UK Foreign Office

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has welcomed U.S strikes on a Syrian airfield last night, saying they were ‘limited and appropriate’. Announced the UK MoD April 7, 2017 © UK MoD 

“U.S strikes show needed resolve against barbaric chemical attacks. EU will work with the US to end brutality in Syria.”  President of European Council, Donald Tusk.  April 7, 2017

We support the United States in that swift action. We hope and pray we will see the end of the use of chemical weapons in Syria.”  Prime Minister of Australia Malcom Turnbull  April 7 2017 © PM Malcolm’s Office

Canada fully supports the United States limited and focused action to degrade the Assad regime’s ability to launch chemical weapons attacks against innocent civilians, including many children. President Assad’s use of chemical weapons and the crimes the Syrian regime has committed against its own people cannot be ignored. These gruesome attacks cannot be permitted to continue with impunity.”  Statement by PM of Canada, Justin Trudeau April 7, 2017 © Prime Minister’s office

“This week we were shocked by the horrific images coming out of Syria. Hundreds of innocent men, women and children fell victim to the devastating effects of toxic gas. Many did not survive. The use of toxic gas is a crime against humanity – the worst kind of violence and depravity. The international community cannot take too clear a stand against it. Unfortunately, this week Russia and China blocked a resolution in the UN Security Council against Syria. Once again, efforts to form a united front through international law hit a dead end.   A few hours ago  the United States sent a clear message  that, with the use of toxic gas, a line has been crossed. In the current circumstances this is a proportionate response. The Dutch government considers this understandable. It is a warning to Assad that the deployment of chemical weapons is unacceptable.”  Announcement by the government of the Netherlands April 7 2017 © MFA of the Netherlands

“The Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs believes that the missile strikes launched by the United States on the Al-Shayrat air base in Syria are an adequate response to prevent a repeated use of chemical weapons against Syria’s civilians. This is a clear signal that the proliferation and use of chemical weapons is not to be tolerated.” Announced the  Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Latvia, April 7, 2017 © Communications Directorate of the MFA of Latvia 

Image: The guided-missile destroyer USS Porter “Freedom’s Champion” in the Mediterranean Sea, conducting Naval Operations. April 7, 2017 © U.S Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ford Williams           

 By Catherine Stella Schmidt  (Copy righted material)

 

Austrian OSCE Chairmanship 2017 ‘Objectives’

From January 2017 to  2018 Austria holds Chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in its Permanent Council in Vienna, the Capital of the World’s International Organizations.

The overall objectives of the Austrian OSCE  Chairmanship 2017  has been conceptualized on the three main decisive action plans: 

  • Defusing existing conflicts; 
  • Intensifying the joint fight against radicalization and violet extremism;  
  • Fostering the re-establishment of trust.

“The success of our joint work has a direct impact on security and stability for people in the OSCE area.  Austria sees itself in its traditional role as a bridge builder and a place of dialogue in times when distrust and instability resurge,” Elaborated Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz © MFA of Austria 

Special:  Interview of  OSCE Chairperson-in-Office 2017,  Foreign Affairs Minister Sebastian Kurz.

The United States and European Armed-Forces in Transatlantic Bond

Defense Secretary Mattis met with NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg at the Pentagon on March 21. The Two leaders discussed range of Defense and Security issues including, countering the emerging challenges, fighting with ISIS and strengthening the Transatlantic Relations.      

 

 

 

 

 

Washington DC, March 21, 2017 © US Mission to NATO

But I just also want to say thanks to you personally for your leadership, for the moral example that you set.  NATO, under you, is evolving to defend against aggression and respond to terrorist threats along the southern flank in the Mediterranean and the Turkish border.  
I look forward to engaging with the coalition members who are here this week on the counter-ISIS fight.  And I’m confident that NATO will, as always, be one of the leaders as we deal with this threat.” Highlighted Defense Secretary Mattis during his meeting with the NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg at the Pentagon. March 21, 2017 © DoD Press Office

Emphasizing the importance of the Transatlantic Relations, NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg during his meeting with the Defense Secretary Mattis expressed  : 

“Thank you so much. And thank you for welcoming me and my delegation. It’s great to be here in Washington, and to meet with you. And I also commend you for your strong personal support and leadership when it comes to NATO and the trans-Atlantic bond.”

“I think we all understand that in times of turmoil, in times of uncertainty, the need for strong international institutions as NATO is even greater.  So therefore, we need to adapt.  We need to strengthen NATO in response to the challenges and the — and the unpredictability we see surrounding us today.
Strong NATO is, of course, good for Europe, and we are also grateful for the commitment of the United States to the security guarantees to Europe.  But strong NATO is also good for North America because stability in Europe is good for all of us.  Two world wars and the cold war have taught us all that peace and stability in Europe is important for Europe of course, but also for North America.
So I’m looking forward to go through the whole NATO and U.S. agenda, and discuss how we can continue to adapt NATO to a new and more demanding security” Pentagon,  March 21, 2017 © DoD Press Office

Defense Secretary Mattis, on the same day, met with  Defense Minister Niinisto of Finland at the Pentagon. 

“Minister, you’re very welcome here in the Pentagon.  We appreciate you taking your time to visit Washington and to meet here at the Pentagon — two democracies on opposite sides of an ocean, but we share a love of liberty and especially of independence.”

Our democratic nations can collaborate in defense of our values.  And in this regard, I look forward to joining you later this week and discussing our coalition effort against ISIS.  And I thank you for your contributions — the contributions of your elite forces to that fight against ISIS, to the NATO missions that you’ve contributed to and continue to, and of course to the U.N. missions which go even beyond just the purely military.”  Stated Defense Secretary Mattis during his meeting with Defense Minister Niinisto and Ambassador Kauppi of Finalnd. Pentagon, March 21, 2017 © DoD Press Office

Excerpts from the remarks by Defense Minister Niinisto during the meeting with Secretary Mattis at Pentagon:

“Thank you, Mr. Secretary, for receiving our delegation.  Finland takes its defense very seriously, and we see ourselves as providers of security, not consumers.”

“And I must emphasize that U.S.-Finnish bilateral defense relationship is on a strong basis.  The signing of the bilateral statement of intent last October in Helsinki was a concrete step to take the relationship even further.
Active bilateral training and exercise program has been an effective way to increase the interoperability of our forces.  And we look forward to continue this cooperation also in the future.  And I also look forward to a good discussion today.” Pentagon,  March 21, 2017 © DoD Press Office

Defense Secretary Mattis also met with Minister of Defense Maria Dolores de Cospedal of Spain on March 23.                                                                                                                                                                                                             And with Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos at the Pentagon on March 24.

Addition: Vice President Pence Re-assured Europe the United States’ Commitment

Sources: U.S DoD Public Affairs/NATO Public Affairs/               Follow us: @USEUWAffairs   

 

By Catherine Stella Schmidt  (Copy righted material)

 

U.S Naval Force in NATO Maritime Exercise Dynamic Manta 2017

The United States Naval Force in Europe maintains a crucial role in most NATO Maritime Joint-Training…… Maneuver and Exercises — as of recent time in Dynamic Manta in the Mediterranean Sea, the southern coast of Italy.  

The exercise accentuates the aims on increasing the interoperability and proficiency in multi-dimensional-facet of the Naval capacities,  Anti-Submarine and Anti-Surface Warfare in NATO member states.  Dynamic Manta was also carried out in 2015 and 2016, with the similar objectives.                                   This time it is hosted by Italy,  led by NATO and being executed from March 13 to 25.  

    USS Porter (DDG 78) transits the Mediterranean Sea, March 9, 2017 © U.S Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ford Williams

Announced by the U.S Naval Forces in Europe/Africa, the United States has, in addition  to the Naval units, provided:

  • The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) “Freedom’s Champion”
  • A nuclear powered attack submarine assigned to Commander,
  • Task Force CTF 69, two P-8A Poseidons assigned to CTF 67
  • And one P-3 Orion from the U.S. Navy’s 6th Fleet Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 11. 

“Exercise Dynamic Manta is an excellent way for NATO allies to build resilient warfare capabilities, including anti-submarine warfare capabilities, through realistic training and challenging scenarios.  The chance to participate in an exercise that enhances NATO’s overall multi-lateral operations is a tremendous opportunity, and we look forward to working with all of the participating nations.”  Highlighted Commander  Andria Slough, Commanding Officer of the USS Porter (DDG 78) March 14, 2017 ©U.S Naval Forces Europe/Africa

Participants are also Standing NATO Maritime Group 2, Task Unit U02 (SNMG2 TU02);  the Naval Forces of: Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Spain, Turkey, UK and the U.S.  

Sources:U.S Naval Europe/Africa, NATO Maritime Public Affairs      Follow us @USEUWAffair

Italian Air Force Re-assumes the NATO Air Mission

The Italian Air Force has re-assumed for the second time NATO Air Policing Operation, leading the mission from mid March until mid April 2017.

The Operation is formulated to ensure the security and integrity of NATO member’s Airspace, to increase the interoperability and integration of Iceland’s Air Force with the NATO’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense System.

“This joined Aerial defense in the Iceland  is a clear example of rational management and sharing of the available resources among NATO member States.”  Elaborated General Claudio Graziano, Chief of Italian Defense March 7, 2017 © Italian MoD 

Described by the Italian Ministry of Defense:                                                                                                                                 The Air Force has deployed six Eurofighter to the operation and its task will be to ensure the security surveillance of Iceland Airspace until mid-April, while conducting joint Training activities with the local Coast Guard.

Sources: Italian MoD, Italian Air Fore, NATO Air Command Public Affairs Office