''NATO and the OSCE: building security together''

Speech by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the OSCE in Vienna

  • 30 Jun. 2011
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  • Last updated: 30 Jun. 2011 11:13

Opening Session of the OSCE Security and Review Conference. Speech by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

Mr Secretary,
Secretary General,
Permanent State Secretary Jankauskas,
Ambassador Norkus,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is my first visit to the OSCE as NATO Secretary General. It is an honour to be here. Especially in the company of such distinguished guests.

The OSCE is a crucial part of Europe’s security architecture. And NATO is another. We both share the aim expressed in last year’s Astana Declaration of building a “free, democratic, common and indivisible security community from Vancouver to Vladivostok”.
A security community that must be rooted in agreed principles, shared commitments and common goals.

We understand that conflict is almost always based on the violation of somebody’s human rights. And that if we wish to see long term security, we need to defend and safeguard these human rights.

To protect the fundamental aspirations that reside in us all. Freedom. The desire for democracy. The need for justice. And for law and order.

With the Helsinki Final Act and the Charter for European Security, the OSCE has become the standard-bearer of democracy and human rights. You play a significant role in preventing and managing conflicts. And you are a major forum for pan-European arms control, and for confidence-building.

All that makes the OSCE indispensable for the security of this continent – and a key partner for NATO.

Today I would like to focus on three particular areas where I think co-operation between us will improve our shared security. First -- completing our joint effort to build a Europe that is whole, free and at peace. Second -- working together to address new and emerging threats. And third -- reinforcing each other’s work in protecting our shared values.

So first – completing Europe’s unfinished business.

Over the past 20 years, NATO and the OSCE together have helped to restore security and stability in the Balkans. NATO stopped the fighting and took the lead on defence reform.

And we provided security so that OSCE civilians could help reform the democratic, cultural and legal institutions.

We often talk about using a Comprehensive Approach in Afghanistan. But actually the Comprehensive Approach has its origins in the Balkans. There the United Nations, the OSCE, the European Union and NATO were all present.

All trying to stabilise the region. And for the first time in modern conflict, the military teams and the civilians realised the true value of co-ordinating their efforts. Of planning and conducting operations together. Of complementing each others work.

Maintaining this comprehensive approach is vital if we are to continue making progress in bringing peace, security, and stability to our continent. We have to maintain our unity of purpose. We have to deepen our cooperation. And we have to keep open our shared channels of communications.

Yesterday, I was in Montenegro. I laid out my vision for the Western Balkans region. The arrest of Ratko Mladic has offered the opportunity to close a bloody chapter in Balkan history. And it has taken us a lot closer to the day when the entire Balkans region is part of our Euro-Atlantic community of nations.

But to complete their journey, all the countries of the region need to stay on the path of reform. They need to implement further defence reform. To continue political, judicial and economic reforms. And they can be assured that our two organisations will continue to help them.

We can also both help in the Caucasus. The OSCE is playing a key role in finding a solution for the problems in this region. And we support those efforts.

NATO is engaged with the countries of the region too. We are working with them in partnership and cooperation on issues of common concern. And we offer our Caucasus partners advice and assistance as they undertake challenging defence sector reforms.

That, as well, helps to build regional stability and security. And to bring us closer to the confident and complete Europe that we all want to see.

Arms control is one further, important aspect of that Europe. The new START Treaty will lead to a drastic reduction in the number of US and Russian strategic nuclear weapons. I am optimistic that it will also improve the climate for progress on conventional arms control. And for reducing the number of tactical nuclear weapons on our continent.

My second point – how can we work better together in addressing new and emerging security challenges?

Today, whether we live in Austria or Albania, United Kingdom or Ukraine, we face many common threats.

Cyber attacks, terrorism, transnational crime, energy security. These are problems for us all. Our shared interest lies in working together to find solutions. Not in dwelling on old suspicions that kept us apart.

NATO’s new Strategic Concept emphasises the need for us to work in partnership. And to strengthen our relationships with other nations, and organisations.

Like NATO, the OSCE has turned its attention to cyber security. Your work to develop confidence building measures in this area is invaluable. It will enhance transparency. Help avoid miscalculations. And it will complement NATO’s own work in this area.

Terrorism is another major issue that both NATO and the OSCE must deal with. Our organisations meet regularly to discuss this threat, as well as others. But I believe that we can build on this and develop greater practical cooperation on a broader range of issues.

Let me give you some examples. We could consider joint training and education for our own staffs before we deploy them.

We could reinforce our combined efforts on security sector reform. And we could broaden our cooperation to include training of security forces.

Another threat we all face is the proliferation of missile technology. Today, over 30 states either already have, or are developing, a ballistic missile capability. The threat is real. It is growing. And it affects not just NATO nations, but all the nations sitting around this table.

That is why NATO is building a missile defence capability. And it is why we have invited Russia to work with us.

NATO and Russia are currently exploring how we can best cooperate in this area. This could create a virtuous cycle. It could help us to build the confidence and trust to tackle some of the more difficult issues in our relationship.

It provides a unique opportunity for us to build greater security and stability across the entire Euro-Atlantic area. And it could lead to a sea-change in the way NATO and Russia look at each other.

This is a goal worth aiming for. To reach it will require courage.

The courage to view things differently from our predecessors.

The courage to let go of the prejudices that have held us back.

And the courage to see what the future could look like.

This brings me to my third and final point -- how we can complement each other in promoting our shared values -- freedom, democracy, and human rights.

Europe is not an island. The stability of our continent, and the security of our values, can be affected by developments outside Europe. And this has been particularly evident in recent months.

Since January this year, men and women across North Africa and the Middle East have shown real courage. They have cried out for freedom.

And they have triggered a wave of change across their region, and beyond.

In Libya, Colonel Qadhafi has not only resisted change. He has terrorised his own people, in the most brutal manner.

Acting in support of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, NATO stepped in to protect the people of Libya.

Our operation there has the support of many countries in the region. Together, we have prevented a massacre and saved countless lives. We have seriously degraded the ability of the Qadhafi regime to attack civilians. And we are paving the way for a political solution – which is the only way out of this crisis.

Qadhafi is Libya’s past, not its future. The future belongs to the people of Libya. The international community needs to start planning for that future.

I believe that planning should start now. And it should be led by the United Nations. But we all have a role to play.

At NATO, we are actively considering just how we might respond to requests for help. The OSCE is also giving this careful thought.

Once the crisis is over, it will be necessary to reform the military and security sectors. NATO has extensive experience in this field. But the experience and expertise of other organisations will be required in many other areas too.

Libya will need help to hold free and fair elections. To build democratic institutions.

To construct a just and impartial legal system. To establish an independent media. And to generate economic development.

Other nations in the region might ask for similar help.

The range of possibilities for practical support is wide. But the intention must be the same. To enable -- not to impose. To help build local capability – not international dependency.

To do that, our nations and our organisations will have to put into practice lessons learned from past conflicts. We will need to ensure that our support complements each other. We will need to embrace a comprehensive approach from the start.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

NATO and the OSCE have a shared past in making Europe more stable and secure. Our job now, is to make tomorrow even more secure.

We need to build upon our successes and reinforce them. We need to look again at old problems, and find new solutions. Be ready for emerging challenges, and together work out how to meet them. And we need to look outside of Europe, and work with our partners around the globe to promote our shared security.

That’s a busy agenda. By tackling it together, I am confident that we can succeed.

Thank you.