Lugar: Attack on Allies' Energy Supplies is Attack on NATO Alliance
Senator invokes Article V in opening speech of Riga Conference
Transcript available on conference website, along with additional information:
RIGA, Latvia (November 27, 2006) - U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar opened The Riga Conference: Transforming NATO in a New Global Era this evening by invoking NATO Article V - an attack on one member is an attack on all members - for energy security, even staking the alliance's future on the issue.
"The Alliance must commit itself to preparing for and responding to attempts to use the energy weapon against its fellow members," Lugar said. "NATO must become a reliable refuge for members against threats stemming from their energy insecurity. If this does not happen, the Alliance is likely to become badly divided as vulnerable members seek to placate their energy suppliers."
Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga and NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer also gave brief remarks to the audience of internationally recognized policymakers, officials, scholars, and business leaders, organized by the Strategic Analysis Commission under the auspices of the President of Latvia, the Latvian Transatlantic Organization, and the German Marshall Fund of the United States.
Lugar outlined several challenges for NATO, including Afghanistan ("Afghanistan has become a test case for whether we can overcome the growing discrepancy between NATO's expanding missions and its lagging capabilities.") and an expansion of NATO partners and members.
But his strongest words were reserved for energy security and his call for Article V commitment, initially envisioned as a response to armed invasion during the Cold War.
"NATO must determine what steps it is willing to take if Poland, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, or another member state is threatened as Ukraine was," Lugar said. "Because an attack...using energy as a weapon can devastate a nation's economy and yield hundreds or even thousands of casualties, the Alliance must avow that defending against such attacks is an Article Five commitment.
"This does not mean that attempts to manipulate energy for international political gain would require a NATO military response," he continued.
The Riga Conference: Transforming NATO in a New Global Era, occurring November 27-29, during the NATO Riga Summit, convenes decision-makers who shape, enact, and exercise the policies at the core of NATO's agenda. The Riga Conference focuses on NATO's continuing transformation - on its outreach and new relationships around the world, the question of expanding NATO's role in global crises, energy security, Afghanistan, and the Balkans, its future with Russia, and its own future for enlargement.