U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright issued a statement November 20 welcoming the European Union's pledge of national troops to a European rapid reaction force. She said the United States sees it as a positive development we wholly support."
The pledge of troops, warplanes and warships was made during the EU's Capabilities Commitment Conference in Brussels.
"This EU force will be available to both NATO and the EU, in those cases where the Alliance as a whole is not militarily engaged. It offers a valuable complement to the efforts and capabilities of NATO,"
Following is the text of her statement:
Statement By Secretary Of State Madeleine K. Albright
United States Backs European Rapid Reaction Force
Today's conference in Brussels pledging national troops to a European rapid reaction force is a strongly positive development we wholly support.
We welcome today's European Union's Capabilities Commitment Conference as a first step towards making the Headline Goal of a European rapid reaction force a reality and getting the European Security and Defense Identity right.
We, along with the other Allies, are working closely with the European Union to make this initiative a success and to create a true strategic partnership between two key Western institutions -- NATO and the European Union.
Creation of this capability promises to improve Europe's ability to act in ways that will strengthen European and transatlantic security. It is a key feature of the European Security and Defense Identity [ESDI], a NATO initiative that the U.S. has supported wholeheartedly.
This EU force will be available to both NATO and the EU, in those cases where the Alliance as a whole is not militarily engaged. It offers a valuable complement to the efforts and capabilities of NATO.