Updated: 03-Nov-2004 NATO Speeches


3 Nov. 2004

Press point

by NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and Solomon Passy, Chairman in Office of the OSCE and Foreign Minister of Bulgaria

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Audio file (.MP3/2773Kb)

de Hoop Scheffer: Let me once again warmly welcome first of all Minister Passy... Solomon Passy, my good friend and present Chairman in Office of the OSCE to the NATO Headquarters.

We had a very interesting briefing by Minister Passy on his chairmanship, on the questions he's faced with, also in preparation of course for the OSCE Ministerial Meeting in Sofia soon. Minister Passy and I myself have stressed the need for close cooperation between NATO and the OSCE.

We have seen good examples lately for instance in Afghanistan and under present circumstances and in the present-day world and on the basis of the present-day threats, I think it is of the essence that organisations as the OSCE and NATO work closely together.

You know that Minister Passy made his statements and introduction in the meeting of the EAPC. There was a lively round of discussions and comments afterwards. You're very welcome Minister and may I say now that I wish you not only a very successful two last month of your chairmanship but also a very successful ministerial conference in Sofia.

Solomon Passy: Thank you very much Secretary General, dear friend.

I would like first of all to underline that my chairmanship, the Bulgarian chairmanship, received an excellent legacy from my predecessor from the Dutch chairman in office, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, and now to a great extent due to his personal commitment we succeeded to establish excellent cooperation between NATO and the OSCE.

As a real proof of this cooperation I can quote our joint visit to the Balkans after the outbreak of violence in March, in Kosovo, and recently our recently cooperation in Afghanistan for the elections there.

I do believe that the two organisations have a great future together and we shall have to spare no effort in order to work for the common goals.

Q: Antonio Rodriguez, Spanish Newsagency, Europress: We have already known that Mr. Bush is going to be the next American President. What is your first reaction Mr. de Hoop Scheffer and I have another for Mr. Passy. Today we have already known also that Hungarian troops are going to come back to Hungary in the New Year, before March. Could you recall us what is the situation with the Bulgarian troops and what do you think for next year if a withdrawal is possible too? Thank you.

de Hoop Scheffer: Let's give precedence to our host, to Minister Passy.

Solomon Passy: Well thank you very much. On the first question, we would like to congratulate the elected person which the American people decided to elect, President Bush. And we hope that his election will deepen the relationship between the United States and Europe.

On your second question about the Bulgarian presence in Iraq, I understand. Bulgaria has a contingent of 500 people who are present on the ground in Iraq and we shall make a re-assessment of our presence there after the elections in Iraq in January next year.

de Hoop Scheffer: Let me for my side congratulate the incumbent President Bush... the new President Bush with his election. I'm looking forward to continuing with him and with his coming-up administration. The close bonds existing in the North Atlantic Alliance, a unique alliance of 26 democratic nations, also unique in the sense that the United States is sitting at the table here at the NATO Headquarters and I'm looking forward to this cooperation and it's even more strengthening the already very strong ties existing between all 26 NATO Allies and more specifically existing between the United States and the NATO Alliance.

Q: Bettina Joteva, Bulgarian Daily, Mr. Secretary General, I would like to know your assessment on the Bulgarian chairmanship of OSCE and Mr. Minister, I would like to ask you on our contingent in Afghanistan is there an idea of can we implement this idea which raised two months ago that we could contribute more to ISAF. Thank you.

de Hoop Scheffer: Let me start by saying that I have and I know, as Minister Passy was saying, what it is... I have the greatest admiration for the way in which Bulgaria in general and Minister Solomon Passy more in particular runs the chairmanship of the OSCE, an organisation of 55 countries, that's not an easy job. That's not an easy task.

It's a very active chairmanship, very active in the sense that Minister Passy is travelling a lot which means that he is trying to create also personal bonds with all the relevant interlocutors, all the relevant actors. I knew that before of course that it would be a success but I say again it's not easy in the present-day political circumstances but I have the greatest respect for the Bulgarian chairmanship.

Solomon Passy: Bulgaria is planning to enhance its presence in Afghanistan; we are planning in the year of 2006 to contribute for the security of the Airport in Kabul. This is a decision which my government made and we shall do this through the unit which we currently use for the... as a protection force in Bosnia.

Q: I have a question for both... because NATO and OSCE both were playing important role in the elections in Kosovo. Now finally elections are over, counting and recounting is also done and we have the final results. Do you have any preference about the incoming government? Who do you want to see in that government especially knowing that it will be very difficult for the Serbs to participate if their governments since the participation of the Serbs was less than one percent in the polls?

de Hoop Scheffer: I never have any preferences for governments as a principle. NATO works together with any government which is in place irrespective of the composition of that government.

Solomon Passy: The government will be elected by the Kosovo institutions and what I can only say that we tried to do our best to encourage stronger Serbian participation in the elections. This was well supported by the international community and we hope that in future this might be compensated.

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