"NATO is an alliance of 25 states. We are a military-political organization. It is not the NATO established in the past to prevent the threat that was probably emanating from the Soviet Union," Scheffer said.
"Yes, we do have military potential, but I am not referring to the presence of four fighters near Russian borders [for patrolling Russia-Baltic borders] for building up military potential," Scheffer said.
He said the alliance is deploying its forces in Afghanistan, Kosovo and Iraq in line with the UN mandate, as well as in the Mediterranean in line with the UN Charter.
"We may use our potential in the 21st century for these aims," Scheffer said.
He said NATO should not play a direct role in settling regional conflicts in the CIS, including the conflict between Moldova and its breakaway region of Transdniestria.
"For this, there are other players in the international arena, such as the OSCE," Scheffer said. Ukraine and Russia also have roles to play in the mediation of that conflict, the NATO Secretary General said.
NATO should urge all sides concerned to help settle the conflict, but it should not make itself a world gendarme, Scheffer said.