• The San Juan Daily Star

Resident commissioner participates in her 2nd NATO Parliamentary Assembly

Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón, far right, was a member of the United States delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Lisbon, which brought together representatives of 30 allied countries. (Photo Courtesy of the Office of the Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner)

By John McPhaul

Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón participated in the 67th Annual Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which brings together representatives of 30 allied countries.

González Colón was member of the United States delegation to the NATO Parliament in Lisbon, where she was part of one of the five committees that met for three days to discuss the reports and resolutions to be approved by the General Assembly and that will serve as the basis for the reformulation of a new NATO defense and deterrence policy.

“It is a privilege to be part of the decision-making that will strengthen transatlantic relations with our allies, while fighting the destabilizing influence of Russia and China around the world,” said González Colón, who was the first resident commissioner of Puerto Rico to participate in the assembly in May 2018 when it was held in Poland.

González Colón endorsed a report presented by Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.), who warned that “the Allies should definitely closely monitor the Beijing-Moscow collaboration and share information and analysis, possibly by creating a designated unit” in NATO. The report also supports Georgia and Ukraine joining NATO, condemns Russia for the forced annexation of Crimea, examines Russia’s activities in the Middle East, and makes recommendations to counter military and cyber threats, among others.

“In Congress we are vigilant with the scope of the Russian government and its international aggressions by military means, through cyber attacks on critical infrastructure as well as the continuous investment of China in its military defense apparatus and its impact on democratic policies around the world,” said González Colón, who co-chairs the Friends of Spain Caucus.

The resident commissioner was part of the eight-member bipartisan delegation of Congress led by the speaker of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, U.S. Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.). Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi also participated in the General Assembly.

During the session, in which NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also participated, and where 210 parliamentarians were present, the foundations were laid for the preparation of the NATO Strategic Concept, which the allied leaders will agree on at the 2022 NATO Summit.

In NATO Parliamentary Assembly committees, lawmakers debated 15 in-depth reports and analyzed seven resolutions, containing policy recommendations for the Alliance. During the plenary session held Monday, they were voted on.

Some topics they touched on were defending democratic values, the multifaceted challenge of Russia, developing a common approach to China, security in the Indo-Pacific, lessons from Afghanistan, preserving NATO’s technological advantage, Iran’s nuclear program, developments in the Middle East and North Africa, challenges in Belarus, space security, climate change and media misinformation.

The 2021 Annual Session is the first face-to-face session in two years, due to the pandemic.

The NATO Parliamentary Assembly was founded in 1955, six years after the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty. It provides the vital link between NATO and national parliaments by bringing together members of the national legislatures of member countries.

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