Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
Photo: Reuters
NATO chief: We can't intervene on Iran
Talking to Israeli reporters in Brussels, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer says he hopes international dialogue will yield solution to Iranian nuclear issue. North Atlantic Treaty Organization has no plans to get involved in Israeli-Palestinian talks, he adds
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has no mandate to engage in political matters like the Iranian nuclear issue, NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told Israeli reporters in Brussels on Thursday.


"I do not belong to the optimistic camp which believes there is a solution for the Iranian nuclear issue. I hope, however, that the international dialogue yields a solution," he said.


Scheffer also rejected any NATO involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian talks.


"NATO is not a player in this matter. I believe NATO has no mandate to operate on the Israeli-Palestinian issue unless an agreement is reached, unless there is a United Nations Security Council resolution, and unless the region's countries, headed by Israel of course, ask for NATO presence in order to secure peace.


"If these conditions are met, I believe NATO will hold serious discussion," said Scheffer, addressing the idea to station a NATO force in the West Bank or Gaza Strip.


He added that NATO was working to thwart the distribution of terror by searching for smuggled weapons at sea, among other things.


'Hizbullah is a terror organization'

As for the Iranian issue, Scheffer said his organization had no mandate to intervene in the matter.


"It's not NATO's business to prevent a process of weapons distribution or development. NATO's initial goal was to only defend the territory of the 26 countries which are its allies. NATO is not the UN. This is the role of other organizations running this process."


Addressing the European Union's failure to include Hizbullah in its list of terror organizations, Scheffer said, "It's not NATO's role to judge organizations or other elements.


"We are not directly involved in this matter, but at the end of the day I have no problem saying Hizbullah is a terror organization. I've said more than once that Hizbullah is a terror organization."


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