by Franz von Däniken, State Secretary of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland at the Ministerial Meeting of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council
Mr. Secretary General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Partnership has received further impetus this year in Istanbul. PfP will put a stronger focus on the transition process our partners in the Southern Caucasus and in Central Asia are currently undergoing ; pragmatic ways of interaction will be established with those Mediterranean countries eager to cooperate ; the specific needs of the Western European partners have been acknowledged ; and NATO has confirmed its continuing support for establishing lasting stability in South Eastern Europe.
South Eastern Europe remains a priority for Switzerland. Not only do we intend to maintain our current commitment in Kosovo, but we are also ready to participate in operation ALTHEA in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This decision, already taken by the Government, should receive the approval of parliament in the coming days. As Switzerland's commitment to the PfP Trust Fund project led by Canada and Austria shows, we are prepared to assist Serbia and Montenegro as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina in their efforts to join the Partnership for Peace within the limits posed by the international community.
PfP will remain a key instrument for addressing new challenges in an evolving security environment and we firmly supported the reform process of the Partnership in the run-up to Istanbul. Besides using the tools offered by PfP for increasing even further the interoperability of our armed forces, we will actively support Partnership initiatives along the lines set out in the documents adopted in Istanbul:
Building on our past projects, we are ready to contribute to the implementation of the PAP-DIB, in particular in the field of Border Security. We shall organize in June 2005 a further Workshop in South Eastern Europe in support of the Ohrid process on Border Security and Management.
Thanks to the initiative taken by the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, we have been able to take the first steps in implementing the NATO Policy on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings by addressing one of its key goals: training and education. We shall continue our efforts in this field.
We are glad to host in Lugano, in early March 2005, the EAPC Seminar on Terrorism, which will give us the opportunity to take stock and identify those areas in the fight against terrorism which are of interest to both allies and partners for the way ahead.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Istanbul has confirmed that the Partnership for Peace and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council remain important instruments of Euro-Atlantic security policy. They are equally important for Switzerland.