Ex-Belgian premier renowned for NATO doctrine dies

17th November 2009, Comments 0 comments

Former Belgian premier Pierre Harmel, whose name was synonymous with NATO's doctrine of tough defence and diplomacy in dealing with the former Soviet bloc, has died, his party announced.

BRUSSELS - Harmel died in Brussels on Sunday aged 98, the Social Christian CDH said.

A trained lawyer born in the Belgian capital on March 16, 1911, his political career peaked in 1965 when he led a centre-left coalition for just under a year, but his reputation was forged as a foreign minister.

As top Belgian diplomat in 1966, he was tasked with drawing together a major report on the future tasks of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, notably its handling of the Warsaw Pact nations.

The so-called Harmel doctrine allied arms control with broad diplomacy, giving NATO a dual track policy combining a military strategy and a targeted external policy dialogue to help reduce East-West tensions.

Harmel served in every national government from 1950 to 1973, and retired from political life in 1977.


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