Building on the success of the two previous British - German dialogues on Defence and Security policies, held in London and Berlin, the Royal United Service Institute and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung co-hosted a third session of their annual dialogue on 13 March 2009.
The NATO-led mission in Afghanistan having already been an item on the agenda of both previous dialogues, the topic accordingly provided a useful starting point for our discussions. General Egon Ramms, Commander of NATO’s Joint Force Command in Brunssum and Operational Commander for NATO’s ISAF mission will open the dialogue on multinational cooperation in Afghanistan, with discussions following on NATO/EU relations, as well as the role of military armed forces in the fight against terrorism.
Varying levels of contribution to the International Security Assistance Force are still considered by some NATO members to be undermining allied solidarity, with individual nations seemingly refusing to share equal operational risks. Allies such as Canada, Denmark or the Netherlands for instance, who are operating alongside British armed forces in Southern Afghanistan, have repeatedly called for other nations to extend the scope and geography of their operations.
In order to provide a wider multilateral understanding on defence and security policies, especially on the subject matter of Afghanistan, the third dialogue was intended to expand the existing exchange between British and German parliamentarians by inviting representatives from allied nations operating in South Helmand province.
Keynote Speaker: General Egon Ramms, Commander of NATO’s Joint Force Command, Brunssum
Session one: Cooperating in Afghanistan: Strengthening the multinational approach
Chairperson: Rory McLean (RUSI)
Ursula Mogg (German MP), Paul Dewar (Canadian MP)
Session two: Fostering better NATO / EU Relations
Chairperson: Karl-Heinz Spiegel (FES)
Hans-Peter Bartels (German MP), Lord John Roper (UK House of Lords)
Session Three: The role of National Military forces in Counter Terrorism
Chairperson: Michael Codner (RUSI)
Major Anders Hansen (Danish Army), Johannes Kahrs (German MP)