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Nato future strategy set out by expert panel

Madeleine Albright: "Nato cannot let the 21st Century dangers divide leaders"

Reform of Nato is essential if the organisation is to be effective in meeting its responsibilities in the 21st Century, a panel of experts says.

The alliance must retain the ability to act beyond its territorial limits, said the panel, led by former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

It also must be better at communicating its achievements, or risk losing public support, the report concluded.

Nato is due to agree on a new strategic concept at a summit in November.

The Afghan war has been Nato's largest and deadliest mission.

NATO's central purpose is to safeguard - by political and military means - the freedom and security of all its members
Nato 2020 report

It has placed a huge strain on the alliance and fuelled tensions on whether its future focus should be on distant missions or closer to home, says the BBC's defence and security correspondent, Nick Childs.

The report underlines the alliance's commitment to Afghanistan, and said it will need to remain able to guard against threats around the world.

"Nato must be versatile and efficient enough to operate far from home," Ms Albright said.

But it must also better inform the public in Europe and North America how they are getting value from the organisation, Ms Albright and Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at a press conference on Monday.

New challenges

Ms Albright said the organisation now faces a variety of "new threats from non-state actors", including terrorism, cyber-crime, and maritime piracy.

The alliance also faces internal differences over its relationship with Russia.

While some countries are keen to improve relations with Moscow, some new members from central and eastern Europe have deep-seated suspicions about Russia's plans, our correspondent says.

The report calls for efforts to engage Russia in any plans to deploy missile defence systems in Europe.

Moscow's opposition to a US missile umbrella in Europe has been one of the key sources of tension between the countries in recent years.

"Missile defence is most effective when it is a joint enterprise, and co-operation... between the alliance and its partners - especially Russia - is highly desirable," the report said.



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