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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » September 2, 2009
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Poland's Rotfeld Among NATO 'Wise Men'
September 2, 2009   
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Former Polish foreign minister Adam Rotfeld has joined a group of NATO "Wise Men" responsible for drafting the new strategic priorities of the Alliance. Anders Fogh Rassmusen, the new NATO secretary-general, appointed the group Aug. 3, his first day in office. The group is chaired by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and includes officials from Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Spain, Canada, Greece, Turkey, and Latvia.

Rotfeld was previously a member of a group of experts who drafted the Declaration on Alliance Security that was adopted during NATO's anniversary summit in Strasbourg and Kehl in April.

Rotfeld was director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) from 1991 to 2002 and Polish foreign minister between Jan. 5 and Oct. 31, 2005. In 1992-1993, the 71-year-old diplomat and researcher served as a representative of the chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) for the political settlement of the conflict in the Trans-Dniester region of Moldova. In 2008, the UN secretary general appointed Rotfeld chairman of the Advisory Board on Disarmament. Recently, Rotfeld was co-chairman of the Polish-Russian Committee for Difficult Matters, which was revived in 2008. The committee aims to help Poland and Russia reach an agreement on sensitive issues in their shared history.

The Polish foreign ministry has issued a statement to say that the presence of Polish and Latvian officials in the Group of Wise Men gives Central and Eastern Europe a strong voice in the process of mapping out new directions of NATO's development and reform.

"As an active member of the Alliance, Poland has concrete proposals aimed at making the Alliance ready to respond to the challenges and threats of the 21st century," the statement reads. "Poland also intends to emphasize the role of the region in Euro-Atlantic policy."

Discussions on the new document will be held during seminars and consultations with individual member states. In the spring next year, the group is expected to unveil its final report that will become a basis for intergovernmental negotiations. It is expected that the new Strategic Concept of the Alliance will be approved at a NATO summit in the fall of next year, replacing the currently binding Concept approved in 1999.
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