30 May 2000
NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson,
to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly
Prime Minister Orban
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to be here -- although I must say it is a challenge
being the very last presenter, after you have listened to three days of
excellent speeches. I feel a little bit like Elizabeth Taylor's fifth
husband -- I know what's expected of me, but I'm not sure I can still
make it interesting!
Je crois que nous avons la chance d'être au bon endroit au bon
moment pour cette réunion. Au bon endroit parce que, à mon
avis, la Hongrie est une source d'inspiration pour l'Europe du Vingt-et-unième
siècle. Après avoir été pendant des décennies
de l'autre côté du "rideau", elle occupe aujourd'hui
une place centrale en Europe - comme membre de l'OTAN, et futur membre
de l'Union européenne. Cette évolution montre clairement
combien la perspective d'intégration à travers l'Europe
est réelle. Elle prouve que les décisions courageuses sont
payantes; qu'un travail acharné produit des résultats; et
que l'ambition de faire pleinement partie de l'Europe peut devenir une
Au bon endroit donc, mais aussi au bon moment. En effet, la réunion
d'aujourd'hui a lieu moins d'une semaine après la réunion
des ministres des affaires étrangères de l'OTAN à
Florence. Aussi aimerais-je vous faire part des résultats de cette
réunion ainsi que de quelques réflexions personnelles sur
la manière dont l'OTAN évolue.
The first item discussed at the Ministerial meeting was, of course,
South-Eastern Europe. This obviously doesn't come as a surprise to anyone
here. After almost five years in Bosnia, and with the very challenging
situation we face in Kosovo, I'm sure everyone in this room understands
the need to have a close look at where we are in these two missions --
and even more importantly, where we are going.
Our discussions on Bosnia were, in general, positive. Just a few years
after that vicious war came to an end, the security environment in Bosnia
has improved dramatically. Refugees are returning to their homes. Indicted
war criminals are being caught, and turned over to The Hague, where they
will face trial. Free elections are being held, and more and more moderates
are winning office. And Bosnian armies and military budgets are starting
to reduce in size.
All this is real progress -- but Ministers agreed that we still face
very real challenges, if Bosnia is to stand on its own two feet, as a
contributing member of the Euro-Atlantic community. Bosnia must still
get a handle on the rampant corruption and organised crime, which is bleeding
the country dry, and discouraging investment. Common, multi-ethnic institutions
must be made more effective, and all individuals indicted for war crimes
must be turned over to the ICTY.
In general, the final piece of the puzzle in Bosnia is simple -- true
cooperation between the three main ethnic groups. There is still, today,
too much mutual suspicion, too much hostility, and as a result, not enough
cooperation. This cannot last. For Bosnia to take the final step, to become
truly a European country, the Bosnians themselves must overcome their
grievances, and work together. This is a daunting challenge -- but it
can be done, and the proof is that Bosnia now has, for the first time,
a single, multi-ethnic Olympic team, training together for the Sydney
This progress in Bosnia stands as a testament to the potential of the
international efforts to help Kosovo rebuild. We are under no illusions
about the time and the effort this process, too, will require. We took
note, at the meeting, of the many challenges the international community
faces in Kosovo. The need to improve the security situation for the minority
as well as the majority. The need to overcome the division of Mitrovica,
and to avoid any spill-over of hostilities or refugees from the Presevo
Valley into Serbia proper. The pressing need now is for more international
police officers, judges and prosecutors, and more funds for the UN Mission.
All of these challenges would have made up a rather depressing litany
-- if we had not also taken note of the progress Kosovo has made. And
it is truly remarkable progress, since KFOR deployed into Kosovo. More
than 850,000 refugees have returned from abroad, and are living in security
for the first time in decades. Over 550 schools have been cleared of mines
and unexploded ammunition, and 300,000 children went back to school last
autumn, to be taught in their own language for the first time in ten years.
The Kosovo Liberation Army has been disbanded and demilitarised by KFOR,
and it has handed over more than 10,000 weapons. And civilian organisations
are being created to begin to govern a truly multiethnic Kosovo.
Are there still problems? Of course. But overall, things are much, much
better than they were. That was the message that emerged from our meeting
last week, and it gave NATO's members new energy to face the challenges
of Kosovo, and help build true, lasting peace in that troubled province.
And we had numerous, very welcome offers to contributes more resources
to UNMIK's mission.
To achieve that, we are looking beyond Kosovo, to the entire Balkans
region. From now on, instead of ignoring South Eastern Europe until there
is a major crisis, the international community is staying engaged, politically,
economically, and militarily.
Of course, the European Union is leading this effort, through its initiative
to create the Stability Pact. The Stability Pact is coordinating a huge
variety of international projects designed to promote economic and political
cooperation -- and, therefore, economic prosperity and political stability.
NATO's efforts in the region follow the same logic -- promoting self-sustaining
peace by encouraging and supporting regional cooperation. At the Florence
Summit, we gave new impetus to our South-East Europe Initiative, which
supports the work of the Stability Pact. NATO reviewed the progress of
our Consultative Forum on security matters on South-Eastern Europe, which
brings together all the countries of the region to consult and cooperate.
We supported the establishment of security co-operation programmes for
the countries in the region, and giving our Partnership activities and
exercises a stronger regional focus. And we looked forward to contributing
to the Stability Pact effort to develop a South-East Europe regional civil-military
emergency response capability.
Can all these new plans really deliver? Can they really make a difference?
My answer is clear: They can. They are leading the way towards a future
in which South-Eastern Europe ceases to be a source of instability and
conflict; a future in which this region enjoys stability and prosperity,
at peace with itself and the rest of Europe.
Le succès de ces trois projets - la Bosnie, le Kosovo et l'Initiative
pour l'Europe du Sud-Est - dépend d'une étroite coopération
entre l'OTAN et les pays de la région. Cette coopération
n'est pas seulement la preuve éclatante de nos valeurs partagées,
mais aussi une justification parfaite de l'approche coopérative
de la sécurité européenne - une approche concrétisée
par les deux grands mécanismes que l'OTAN a mis en place avec ses
Partenaires au cours de la dernière décennie : le programme
de Partenariat pour la paix et le Conseil de partenariat euro-atlantique.
Dans le cadre du programme de Partenariat pour la paix, vingt-sept pays,
de l'Irlande à la Suède, et de la Croatie à la Roumanie,
coopèrent avec les dix-neuf Alliés dans le domaine militaire
: sur la planification de la défense, les opérations conjointes
de soutien de la paix, les missions humanitaires, ou les plans civils
d'urgence. Au Conseil de partenariat euro?atlantique, ces mêmes
pays se consultent et coopèrent au niveau politique sur la sécurité
régionale dans les Balkans, la reconversion dans le secteur de
la défense, ou l'établissement de relations civilo-militaires
The contribution of Partners in SFOR and KFOR is the clearest sign that
this Partnership has paid off. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that
our operations in Bosnia and Kosovo could never have succeeded without
Partner involvement. This is an achievement we must strengthen. That is
why, at the Ministerial, we took measures to make PfP and EAPC even more
operational. The role of Partners in the preparation and conduct of joint
operations will increase. Defence planning targets will become even more
ambitious. The range of our consultations will become broader. And we
will also make sure that the political voice of Partners will be heard
loud and clear -- because, as we enter the 21st century, NATO's Partners
have left the sidelines, and are now contributing fully to Euro-Atlantic
And in Florence, PfP got a little stronger in another way. I had the
honour of signing, with the Foreign Minister of Croatia, Mr. Picula, the
document marking Croatia's entry into the Partnership for Peace. This
is truly a positive development. It shows that courageous decisions can
pay off. It shows that Croatia has become a contributor. From now on,
Croatia will be part of our common efforts to solve common concerns --
and this, from my perspective, is an important symbol of a Euro-Atlantic
community that is demonstrably growing closer together.
An equally good illustration of this process of Euro-Atlantic integration
is NATO's open-door policy. Again, the logic is clear. NATO membership
brings stability to new democracies, and locks them into the Euro-Atlantic
family of nations. And the prospect of membership encourages reform in
aspirant countries. This was clearly the case for the previous round of
enlargement, which resulted in the accession to NATO, last year, of Poland,
Hungary and the Czech Republic.
In Florence, Ministers reviewed progress on the first year of the Membership
Action Plan, through which NATO is giving advice, assistance and practical
support to countries aspiring to membership. And they welcomed the strong
commitment of the nine aspirant countries manifested at a recent meeting
in Vilnius to the MAP and NATO's open-door policy. Decisions on enlargement
by NATO Heads of State and Government will not be made before 2002. Nevertheless,
the solidity amongst the nine aspirants and their cooperation are symptomatic
of the new Europe.
This same theme - of a Europe built on partnership and cooperation --
guided another important meeting held last week in Florence. You all know
that Mr. Ivanov, Russia's Foreign Minister, joined us for the first Ministerial
meeting of the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council since December 1998.
After my visit to Moscow in February and the constructive consultations
in the PJC at Ambassadorial level since then, I was very pleased to see
Minister Ivanov in Florence. His participation was a logical and necessary
further step to get the NATO-Russia partnership back on track -- in our
mutual interest and in the interest of the security of the entire Euro-Atlantic
The PJC again proved its value as an indispensable venue for frank discussion,
for agreement -- and for disagreement. We were in agreement on the basics:
there is no alternative to NATO-Russia cooperation, and the Founding Act
is the basis of our relationship. On the other hand, we did not agree
on everything during our meeting. Russia took the opportunity to express
its concerns on many issues, including the way UNSCR 1244 is being implemented
in Kosovo. NATO, for its part, conveyed our continued dismay at the Russian
approach to finding a solution in Chechnya. We also expressed our serious
concern at the invitation to Moscow of the Yugoslav Defence Minister --
an individual indicted by the United Nations' own International Criminal
Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Foreign Minister Ivanov made it clear
that this had been due to an inter agency mix-up and that disciplinary
action would be taken against those responsible. The President of ICTY
had been informed.
That said, the PJC produced two concrete results: We agreed to open
a NATO Information Office in Russia as expeditiously as possible and we
agreed on a Work Plan for the rest of the year. In a nutshell: NATO and
Russia are finally overcoming the Kosovo syndrome.
NATO's meeting with Ukraine, in the NATO-Ukraine Commission, was also
very positive -- if less controversial! We reiterated our support for
Ukraine's European and Euro-Atlantic integration, for Ukraine's defence
reform process, and offered further assistance. We also thanked Ukraine
for its contribution to KFOR, and to regional peace and security.
Le Dialogue méditerranéen de l'OTAN est un autre élément
important de nos Partenariats. A Florence, nous avons vu à quel
point le Dialogue améliore la confiance entre l'Alliance et nos
partenaires méditerranéens. C'est pourquoi nous voulons
encore le développer. En outre, les Ministres Alliés se
sont félicités de l'accession de l'Algérie au Dialogue,
qui, nous en sommes persuadés, renforcera la sécurité
et la stabilité régionales.
NATO's stabilising role depends crucially on NATO's continued military
effectiveness -- to manage crises effectively, and to be a credible deterrent
and stabilising security force on the continent. So at the Florence meeting,
Ministers took steps to enhance NATO's military capability and flexibility.
First, they reviewed the implementation of the Defence Capabilities
Initiative. The DCI, as we call it, will enhance NATO's ability to move
forces quickly to where they are needed; to support them for as long as
necessary; to enable them to work together smoothly and effectively; and
to give them the equipment they need to do the job. Ministers looked at
where NATO's nations still need to make progress, and they agreed that
where multi-national arrangements would not suffice, individual nations
should be ready to provide the necessary resources. As an ex-Defence Minister,
this is an issue very close to my heart, because I understand that, in
the real world, capability costs money-- and in the real world, soldiers
need the kit to do the jobs that we assign them. I intend to work very
hard to see that DCI delivers.
The other reason DCI is important to NATO is that it will help strengthen
European defence capabilities and the European pillar of the Alliance,
so that the European Allies can make a stronger and more coherent contribution
to NATO. It will also improve their ability to undertake EU-led missions,
where NATO as a whole is not engaged. In other words, DCI is good for
ESDI -- and ESDI is good for NATO. That is why NATO has supported the
development of stronger European capabilities, right from the beginning.
In Florence, Ministers discussed how to keep moving forward in developing
ESDI. Now some members of the press predicted that we would need riot
police and paramedics inside the meeting room for the discussions on ESDI,
in case disagreements got out of hand! But of course, these predictions
were simply nonsense. We have made a lot of progress recently, on a whole
range of issues, to move ESDI along in a pragmatic and practical way,
and the meeting certainly reflected these very positive developments.
I can see three areas of work we will want to pursue vigorously over
the next months -- and in all three, the Florence Ministerial recognised
concrete steps forward.
First, we stand ready to enter into discussions with the EU on a substantial
agenda of common work, including the arrangements for NATO-EU co-operation
and contact. We will also work on the practicalities for assured EU access
to NATO planning capabilities and for ready EU access to NATO's collective
assets and capabilities. And we will work on the security arrangements
for the exchange of information. At Florence, Ministers tasked me to strengthen
contacts with the EU's High Representative Javier Solana.
Second, we will intensify work on the participation question. The recent
meeting of the EU and the six non-EU European Allies on May 11 was a step
in the right direction. I am confident that the EU meeting in Feira will
add further momentum to this development so that all Allies are satisfied
with the outcome. At Florence, we also made a strong pitch on behalf of
Canada: Ministers stated that for EU-led operations using NATO assets
and capabilities, modalities will have to be agreed if Canada chooses
Thirdly and finally, Ministers recognised the steps the EU is taking
to make real improvements to its military capabilities, including, for
example, the EU's intention to hold a Capabilities Commitment Conference
later this year. NATO's Ministers noted that the Defence Capabilities
Initiative is already supporting the enhancement of European capabilities,
and that the EU's Headline and Capability Goals and DCI objectives would
be mutually reinforcing. They also stressed NATO's readiness to provide
military planning expertise and to adapt the Alliance's defence planning
system to support this enterprise.
So, as I mentioned, the discussions in Florence on ESDI were as they
should be -- positive, and calm. This also holds true for the agenda item
which the media thought would be divisive -- our discussions on US plans
for a National Missile Defence system. This meeting was another in a series
of deepening discussions within the Alliance. The United States assurance
that the views of Allies will be taken into account has been warmly welcomed.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As you can see, we covered in Florence an extremely broad and complex
agenda. But there is one final element of our discussions in Florence
that I have not yet mentioned - our discussions on the importance of public
understanding of NATO's Agenda. The NATO Parliamentary Assembly is very,
very important in that regard. The NPA is a vital hinge between NATO and
our publics -- making sure our Parliaments and our Publics understand
NATO's complex Agenda, including, as we saw last year, in times of crisis.
The NPA's success in playing this crucial role, and the many others
in your broad agenda, is in many ways a tribute to one individual -- Mr.
Ruperez. During your tenure, the NPA has become even more important to
the work of the Alliance. Like the Alliance, it has adapted to meet today's
security requirements. Like the Alliance, it has become more open, more
flexible, and more effective at building cooperation in Europe. That is
why, like the Alliance, the NPA enters the 21st century in very good shape.
This is a tribute to your vision and your leadership. Mr. Ruperez, let
me congratulate you on a job well done.