of the meeting of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in Foreign Ministers session
- The Foreign Ministers and Representatives of the member countries of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) met in Brussels today.
- Discussions focused on two major themes – the Balkans, and the Caucasus and Central Asia.
- Ministers discussed the challenges for the International Community in the Balkans in 2005 and beyond. They reaffirmed their commitment to the region's peaceful and democratic long-term development. Following the recent elections in Kosovo, they expressed support for the efforts by Mr Jessen-Petersen (UN SRSG) in improving the political climate and fostering dialogue after the parliamentary elections, and expressed the hope that the new coalition government in Kosovo will from the outset focus firmly on the implementation of the standards for Kosovo. As concerns Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia and Montenegro, they expressed their hope that these countries would work to meet the established NATO conditions to enable them to join the Partnership for Peace.
- Ministers welcomed NATO's efforts to place a special focus on relations with the states of the Caucasus and Central Asia. They reaffirmed their commitment to building a Partnership which would be tailored to the different needs of individual Partners, and pledged to help assist the countries of the region to meet their cooperation and reform objectives. They welcomed the major steps made by several states of the two regions within the Individual Partnership Action Plan process, and encouraged robust implementation of their major objectives. They stressed the importance of the Partnership Action Plan on Defence Institution Building. The EAPC reaffirmed that effective and efficient state defence institutions under civilian and democratic control are fundamental to stability in the Euro-Atlantic area, and essential for international security cooperation.
- Ministers reiterated the resolve of their states to fight the scourge of terrorism. They took stock of initiatives aimed at increasing the EAPC’s contribution to the fight against terrorism and broadly endorsed the further implementation of the Partnership Action Plan against Terrorism, developed by Allies and Partners.
- They reaffirmed their support for the current priorities of Partnership - efforts to promote democratic values and foster democratic transformation across the Euro-Atlantic area, preparing interested Partners for participation in NATO-led operations and political dialogue and practical cooperation, in particular on combating terrorism.
- Ministers expressed appreciation for the progress in implementing NATO policy on combating the trafficking in human beings which would apply to all personnel taking part in NATO-led operations.
- Finally, Ministers looked forward to the EAPC Security Forum to be hosted by Sweden in May 2005. This inaugural event will provide an opportunity for Ministers, other government officials and representatives of the public to consult on major security issues in an informal setting.