NATO Parliamentary Assembly
Iceland will host the NATO Parliamentary Assembly's 53rd Annual Session, bringing together in Reykjavik some 340 parliamentarians from North America and Europe, from 5 to 9 October 2007.
The Plenary session on Tuesday 9 October will be addressed by NATO PA's President, José LELLO, Sturla BÖDVARSSON, the Speaker of the Icelandic Parliament and Geir HAARDE, Prime Minister of Iceland. The session will be marked by the presence of NATO Secretary General Jaap DE HOOP SCHEFFER and Sali BERISHA, Prime Minister of Albania.
NATO PA's five committees (Political, Defence and Security, Science and Technology, Civil Dimension of Security, Economics and Security) will meet on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 and be addressed by high ranking guest speakers.
The planned deployments of elements of a US ballistic missile defence system in Poland and the Czech Republic, NATO's relations with Russia and the future status of Kosovo will be at the centre of the debates.
The NATO PA Session will also address the major issues on the Alliance's agenda notably operations in Afghanistan, NATO transformation, relations with partner countries, democratic governance in the Black Sea Region, NATO-EU operational Co-operation, and the NATO burden-sharing debate.
Bringing together members of parliaments throughout the Atlantic Alliance, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly has provided for half a century an essential link between NATO and the parliaments of the NATO nations, helping to build parliamentary and public consensus in support of Alliance policies.
At the same time, it has facilitated parliamentary awareness and understanding of key security issues and provided greater transparency of NATO policies. Crucially, it has also helped to maintain and strengthen the transatlantic relationship which underpins the Alliance.
Since the end of the Cold War the Assembly has assumed a new role by integrating into its work parliamentarians from those countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and beyond who seek a closer association with NATO. This integration has provided both political and practical assistance and has contributed to the strengthening of parliamentary democracy throughout the Euro-Atlantic region, thereby complementing and reinforcing NATO's own programme of partnership and co-operation.