Pierre Harmel: Former Belgian foreign minister

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The Independent Online

Pierre Harmel, who died on 15 November aged 98, was a former Belgian foreign minister who authored a 1967 strategy that led the Nato allies to seek detente with the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact.

His report, entitled Future Tasks of the Alliance, became Nato policy in December 1967. At a time of a deep freeze in East-West relations, it said Nato would respond to any military attack from the Soviet Union and its communist allies, but also pursue a thaw in political ties with its adversaries.

"Military security and a policy of detente are not contradictory, but complementary," said the Cold War Nato doctrine that came to bear Harmel's name.

Nato's Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Harmel's work inspires the alliance today as it faces unconventional security threats such as piracy, uncertain energy supplies, terrorism, climate change and rogue states.