American and European Leaders Want Improved Cooperation to Lead to Action on Iran, Sudan
BRUSSELS (April 29, 2006) — An unusually frank and vibrant conversation took place today as four of the top transatlantic policy leaders debated responses to some of the most vexing challenges around the globe today — among them a nuclear Iran and genocide in Darfur.
Javier Solana, Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union; Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, NATO Secretary-General; U.S. Senator John McCain; and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke all agreed on the threat to regional and global security Iran presents but differed on the mechanisms to handle the threat. Solana demurred on whether the European Union would join a “coalition of the willing” in Iran . McCain said that all options remain on the table, including a military option after other options have been exhausted.
Problems in Sudan also loomed large for the discussants, who decried the lack of action. “Look, we all know what needs to be done,” McCain said. “We need more troops. We need better logistic support. We need more pressure put on the Sudanese government. We need, I mean we could draw up a laundry list in five minutes of what needs to be done. We are not doing it. We are not doing it, and it’s shameful that we’re not doing it. Today, thousands of people will die; others will be slaughtered.”
Holbrooke added, “These are bureaucratic words while people are dying.” Between the African Union, the EU, NATO, and the UN, “there has been a buck-passing.” Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said NATO is “ready and willing to do more, but the political climate has to be there.”
On the working level of transatlantic relations, and between the EU and NATO, all agreed that things have improved, including daily contact between Brussels and Washington , and within Brussels . “Don’t say the EU and NATO don’t get along,” Solana said, citing dinners he regularly holds with the NATO Secretary-General. “We work together. It’s not a beauty contest.”