Tanner, NATO group meet with Petraeus in Turkey

Tanner, NATO group meet with Petraeus in Turkey

U.S. Rep. John Tanner says he saw first-hand that U.S.-led NATO forces continue to make progress in Afghanistan in the war against radical fundamentalism. Tanner recently led a delegation of House members to meetings of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Berlin. The members also met in Turkey with Gen. David Petraeus, commanding general of the multi-national force in Iraq, and visited U.S. troops and local leaders in Afghanistan. “I am always gratified to have the opportunity to meet the men and women who are serving the Armed Forces,” said Tanner, who serves as chairman of the U.S. delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, the legislative branch of the NATO alliance among 26 member countries and 16 associate member countries. “We cannot thank them enough for their work.” The delegation attended the NATO-PA spring session in Berlin, where Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed the delegates. The U.S. NATO-PA delegation also made stops in Turkey, a key U.S. ally with a democratic government strategically located next to Iraq and Iran, where they met with President Abdullah Gül, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Ali Babacan. The delegation also visited American troops at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, where they received a briefing from Petraeus on the current situation in Iraq. The group also received briefings on the role Incirlik Air Base is playing in support of the ongoing efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Union City congressman said that it became clear that Afghanistan remains a priority for NATO. “Even as some in the world disagree with certain aspects of our country’s foreign policy, a true multi-national effort continues in Afghanistan to stop the spread of radical fundamentalism,” Tanner said. “Under the direction of U.S. leaders, NATO forces have been able to address growing insurgencies in the region. I am hopeful that our allies will maintain their involvement so we can stay united against the radical fundamentalist groups that want to do damage to our way of life.” Tanner and the other congressional members of the Parliamentary Assembly are appointed by the speaker of the House to serve on the bipartisan assembly that travels to other NATO countries to discuss issues of common interest and concern, such as strengthening global partnerships, improving trade relations, reducing drug trafficking, and working with our allies to stop terrorism. Delegates to the NATO-PA are nominated by their respective governments according to their national procedures, on the basis of party representation in the parliaments. The NATO-PA has been in existence since 1955 to build support for the NATO Alliance within the national legislatures and to provide recommendations to the secretary general of NATO and the North Atlantic Council. Many of the reforms in NATO have first come from the Assembly. It also provides a way for legislators in member countries to stay informed about changes in NATO and about military reforms in the 16 associate countries. Published in The Messenger 6.4.08

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