Bush Discusses Mutual Goals with NATO, South African Leaders
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 1, 2005 NATO "will stay the course" in furthering the organization's values, Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer affirmed here today following a meeting at the White House with President Bush.
De Hoop Scheffer said NATO continues to advance the core principles it has maintained since its inception in 1949.
"The same values we ... defended in the Cold War, we are now defending in Afghanistan, at the Hindu Kush mountains," he said. "We are training the Iraqi security forces so that their country can stand on its own feet as soon as possible. We are staying the course in Kosovo."
In addition, NATO is helping relieve human suffering in Darfur, Sudan, and supporting antiterrorism operations in the Mediterranean.
"We'll stay the course" both militarily and politically, the NATO leader said.
The United States is "a proud member of NATO," Bush said. He called it an important forum for the member nations to cooperate on defense measures to protect their citizens and ways to promote their common values.
Earlier in the day, the president discussed the Darfur situation during a White House meeting with South African President Thabo Mbeki.
The leaders discussed NATO's offer to provide logistical support for African Union troops providing humanitarian aid to the conflict-plagued region.
The U.S military provided airlift for the first troops sent into the region, from Rwanda and Nigeria, Mbeki said. But he insisted that ground troops from the United States or other non-African countries aren't needed.
"Our view has been that it's critically important that the African continent should deal with these conflict situations on the continent, and that includes Darfur," Mbeki said. "And therefore, indeed, you will notice that we have not asked for anybody outside of the African continent to deploy troops to Darfur.
"It's an African responsibility, and we can do it," Mbeki said.