The Kingdom of Denmark: Transatlantic Relations, Iraq, and the Middle East
The full speech as provided by the Prime Minister is available here.
His Excellency Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Denmark
Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen called for more accord in the United Nations and underscored the need for multilateral cooperation, in light of the recent UN Security Council disunity over Iraq. He said America and Europe “have reached a crossroads, not the end-station,” adding that the European Union is committed to taking on its share of the global responsibility and working with America toward advancing common interests.
Although Denmark supported U.S. military action in Iraq—-and, in fact, contributed naval assets to the cause-—Rasmussen said he discourages unilateral action and advised America to include its allies in security decisions and operations. “We are attached, indeed committed, to multilateralism for the simple reason that, as individual nations, we are in no position to stand alone in matters of international security.”
Therefore, Rasmussen said, it’s necessary to make the UN more cohesive and effective. “Deadlock leads to paralysis,” he said, “and the inability to reach a decision then blocks the multilateral road.” He recommended regional powers work together with America to solve regional conflicts. Rasmussen said, “The United States may play a global role in ensuring peace and stability, but it does so through interaction and cooperation with one or more regional powers.” He added that America should use its resources to help alleviate world poverty and environmental degradation, while remembering to respect national heritage and cultural traditions when engaged in nation-building.
Denmark, he said, has a strong sense of national identity and, as a northern EU member and a founding member of NATO, recognizes its role and wants to actively participate in the new, enlarged European Union. Denmark also is staunchly committed to transatlantic cooperation, Rasmussen said. “For Denmark, European integration and Euro-Atlantic cooperation are two parallel policies which can and must be followed at the same time.”
On the Middle East, Rasmussen said solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the key toward stabilizing the whole region and gaining the trust of the Islamic world. He said both sides must work toward implementing the two-state solution as set forth in the “road map” plan devised collectively by America, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations. Rasmussen recommended that NATO expand its security obligations to include stabilizing Iraq and resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He also advocated that Europe and America jointly engage the Middle East and Central Asia to improve educational and judicial systems, develop the private and social sectors, improve democratic and human rights standards, and strengthen civil society.
Despite recent differences between Europe and the United States, Rasmussen commented, “what unites us, is still stronger than what may, at times, divide us.”
Sharon Coleman-Jones, Director, Outreach & Communications, 202-691-4016
Drafted by Dana Steinberg