Updated: 02-Jul-2004 NATO Speeches


29 June 2004


by H.E. Ms Laila Freivalds
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden
EAPC Summit, Istanbul 29 June 2004

NATO Istanbul Summit


Mr Secretary-General, President Karzai, dear Colleagues,

I welcome this opportunity for an exchange of views on the situation in Afghanistan and the role which NATO, Partner countries and in particular ISAF can play there. We all want the same things for Afghanistan: Peace, stability, democracy and human rights. Freedom from strife, from fear and from abuse. From the scourges of war and of the drug trade. A prosperous future for all Afghans.

Afghanistan is a long-standing priority for Sweden. During the years 2002 – 2004, Sweden’s development assistance will amount to up to about 140 Million USD, channelled through the UN and NGO’s such as the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan.

Participation in ISAF is important to Sweden. We welcome the decision to extend ISAFs area of operation to the PRTs in Northern Afghanistan. A further Swedish contingent is ready to join the PRT and the Forward Support Base in Mazar-e-Sharif as soon as the transfer of authority to NATO has taken place. This will bring our presence in ISAF up to about 115 troops.

ISAF is an example of today’s Partnership for Peace – a complex crisis management operation in which Partners and Allies are working together, in Kabul, as well as in the Provincial Reconstruction Teams. ISAF is key to the security and development of Afghanistan. The mission is also in itself an important contribution to international peace and security. We need to enhance the link between security and development – here is a concrete example of an operation which does this in the field.

Mr Secretary-General, Dear Colleagues,

This summit marks the tenth anniversary of the Partnership for Peace. We can look back at a successful decade. The Partnership has proved to be a crucial building-block in the pan-European security architecture. It is in itself a manifestation of the Transatlantic link. We can be proud of our joint achievements: from the crisis management operations in the Balkans and Afghanistan, to the support to security sector reform, to our cooperation in the field of civil emergency planning.

I welcome our colleagues from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia and Montenegro. We look forward to the day when their countries too join the Partnership for Peace, once the conditions are in place.

Sweden welcomes the ambitious agenda this summit sets for the future of the Partnership. Sweden wants to see a stronger partnership. As NATO transforms, so too should the Partnership. And we need a Partnership which is flexible and meets the different needs of all the countries around this table.

First: We welcome the intention of NATO to seek the earliest possible involvement by troop contributing nations in the decision-shaping process. Both NATO and Partners have an interest of improved consultations, in particular regarding NATO-led PfP operations. Partners make substantial contributions to NATO-led operations. Our troops face the same challenges in the field. Improved consultations and early access to documentation will make it easier for us to continue to be relevant contributors.

Second: The Partnership is crucial for ensuring military interoperability. NATO’s decision to open selected NATO exercises to interested Partners was an important step. I also note that the report to this summit states that the training and exercise programme of the NRF should provide opportunities for interaction. We look forward to continuing dialogue on the development of the NRF.

Third. We welcome an intensified effort to implement the Partnership Action Plan against Terrorism. There is more to be done. Fourth. I am encouraged by the adoption of the new NATO policy against trafficking in human beings. Fifth: Sweden believes that more can be done to further the protection of troops. Exploring opportunities for partner cooperation on the Prague WMD initiative is one way of doing this.

Last: We welcome the commitment of NATO to assist partners, in particular in South Caucasus, Central Asia and in the Western Balkans, in areas such as defence reform and institution-building. The PfP provides useful tools, including the Trust Funds. Sweden has contributed to the Trust Funds for Georgia and Albania, and is ready to consider further contributions. With the broad area of security sector reform high on the agenda of many organisations, we need to intensify international cooperation and coordination.

To sum up, I welcome the ambitious approach to the future of the Partnership for Peace taken at this summit. We will need that level of ambition in order to meet the tasks ahead. We have made good use of the first ten years of the PfP. I am sure we will continue to do so in the years to come.


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