NATO issues reserved guestlist

NATO issues reserved guestlist

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
NATO issues reserved guestlist

Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoglu (L) arrives for a family photo with delegates during the informal meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers in Tallinn April 22, 2010. Hürriyet Daily News (inset) on April 23 reported that Turkey blocked Israel participation to Chicago summit.

NATO members have agreed on who will participate in the upcoming Chicago summit after objections were raised by some countries, including Turkey, to a French proposal to invite top European Union bureaucrats.

A compromise was reached among NATO members to allow President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy to participate in a meeting for contributors to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan while European Commission President José Manuel Barroso joins the opening ceremony of the summit on May 20 and 21. The two will be already be in the United States for the G8 summit at Camp David, which immediately precedes the NATO summit in Chicago.

EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton will join the foreign ministers’ dinner on the sidelines of the Summit. However, EU officials won’t participate to the private event honoring the 13 non-NATO nations, which are regarded as having made a special contribution to NATO’s Afghan effort. The occasion will be attended only by national leaders. The EU has been participating in efforts for the reconstruction and democratization of Afghanistan, and its role is expected to grow after NATO’s security operation ends in 2014.

Citing the EU’s commitment to a NATO peace mission in Afghanistan, France had argued that the EU should be represented by Barroso and Rompuy at the summit, while other countries, including Turkey, said participation in the summit should be reserved for member states. Opponents to France’s proposal said that if the EU was allowed to attend then other international organizations, such as the United Nations, the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference should also be represented at the gathering.

Israel not attending to the summit

Turkey’s objection to EU participation in NATO activities involved a more long-standing dispute over the Greek Cyprus block of Turkey’s participation in European defense institutions, such as the European Defense Agency (EDA). Turkey, a NATO member, has responded by vetoing the EU’s integration in NATO activities. Meanwhile, NATO’s top official confirmed that Israel will not be invited to the Chicago summit, but denied news reports that Turkey had blocked Israel’s participation, the Associated Press reported. 

“Israel has not been invited to attend the summit because Israel is neither a participant in ISAF nor in KFOR. No one has blocked an invitation because it’s not been an issue,” NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Gordon official said on May 10 that Israel was not supposed to be invited to the Chicago summit in the first place, due to “logistics and time” matters, Anatolia news agency reported.