|Updated: 13-Jun-2001||NATO Speeches|
At the special
by Mr. Willem Kok, Prime Minister of The Netherlands
I am very grateful for the initiative to have this meeting on the occasion of president Bush's first visit to Europe. And I thank the Secretary General for his introduction.
NATO is daily proving its indispensable role in Euro-Atlantic security.
In the Balkans we are handling two major crisis management operations. On top of that we are actively involved in the prevention of new crises. Unfortunately, developments in Macedonia and Bosnia give us cause for concern.
In Macedonia a sustainable solution is necessary, including the demobilisation of extremist Albanian groups. KFOR co-operates closely with the Macedonian government. Effective border control is crucial. SFOR's role in securing peace and stability in Bosnia-Herzegovina remains essential.
Major reductions in SFOR's military presence or unilateral decisions to do so therefore have to be ruled out. In the words of Secretary Powell: 'we went in together, we go out together'. I can only underline that statement.
The practical, effective cooperation between NATO and the EU in crisis management operations in the Balkans at present bodes well for our future co-operation, reinforcing each other's efforts.An effective European Security and Defense Policy is good for Europe and good for NATO. We are on the right track with ESDP.
In a few days time, in Gothenburg, the European Council will agree on the next steps to be taken. NATO remains our first choice for crisis management operations in and around Europe. But it is important to have a second instrument available if NATO cannot or will not act. Of course we will make maximal use of the strength and solidarity of the Alliance.
Europe's wish to take its own responsibility in certain circumstances will not go at the expense of NATO. For Europe to be credible and the Alliance to remain vital, we need to do more on military capabilities. Our military contributions must keep pace with the ambitions we formulate both in NATO and in the EU. Governments have to live up to this task.
Mr Secretary General,
Our security agenda includes the need to give adequate answers to severe threats posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. The primary method to prevent and combat these threats are international agreements on non-proliferation and arms control. These should include the international code of conduct against ballistic missile proliferation, the CTBT and an effective Biological Weapons Verification Protocol.
On the response to the new threats, including a discussion on Missile Defense, close and serious consultations among the Allies, but also with Russia and China, are very much needed. Our goal must be and remain to achieve more stability and more security - not less. It is my firm conviction that a unilateral abrogation of the ABM-treaty by the US would not be the right approach. This does not mean of course that it could not be adjusted or replaced by a new treaty, in mutual agreement.
The continuing relevance of our Alliance is clearly illustrated by the wish of a large number of countries to join NATO. We want to remain in line with our open door policy, taking into account that a structured preparation of decisions to be taken at the Prague Summit - where we hope and expect to launch a next enlargement round - is needed. I suggest we start the concrete discussion on the basis of the relevant criteria for NATO enlargement at the beginning of next year already. We could task the NAC to draw up a report in December including proposals on how to structure our debate.
Mr Secretary General,
For the Netherlands the Transatlantic link as embedded in NATO remains as essential as ever. In facing the new challenges we share the same values, interests and goals. Experience has clearly proved that where we have the political will to act together we are successful. This provides us with a solid basis to face the challenges of the future with confidence.