Updated: 12-Mar-2001 NATO Speeches

7-8 June 1990

Opening remarks at the Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council

Speech by Secretary General, Manfred Wörner

On behalf of the North Atlantic Council I would like to express our deep appreciation to the United Kingdom Authorities for the warm welcome they have extended to us here in Turnberry.

This is the time to create a new European order, an order for a Europe which is undivided, free and at peace. As members of the Atlantic Alliance, we are taking the decisions and devising the policies necessary to that task. Our Alliance has to play a major role in this endeavour. We have consistently promoted and contributed to change, and will continue to do so: that is the central message of our meetings this Spring. If we want to be able to meet the challenge of change, we have to change ourselves. We are equipping the Alliance for its role as a partner in stability and progress.

The two fundamental elements of the policy of this Alliance, defence and dialogue, have borne fruit. In pursuing the path we decided upon decades ago, we have helped to create a new world which is now unfolding and which we must continue to nourish.

The Harmel Report of 1967 made a fundamental observation about overcoming the post-war division of Europe. Harmel warned that "No final and stable settlement in Europe is possible without a solution of the German question which lies at the heart of present tensions in Europe. Any such settlement must end the unnatural barriers between Eastern and Western Europe, which are most clearly and cruelly manifested in the division of Ger-many." Now that this is happening, we can and will add a new third dimension to our policy: cooperation. We intend to move beyond confrontation to cooperation with all the states who have an interest in Europe.

This Alliance will continue to guarantee the safety and stability of Europe. We have entered a period with prospects for cooperation and the peaceful management of change, and for changing the ways we think about security. The greatly reduced risk of military conflict in Europe and the conclusion of an agreement on conventional arms control will provide the foundation.

The results of our recent Ministerials are already giving concrete shape to our vision, and we trust that the Soviet Union will finally and fully appreciate this new dimension. We seek a framework of cooperation which adds to the security of all and diminishes the security of no one. We want to build a cooperative framework. A CFE agreement is the essential first step. We support an enhanced and strengthened CSCE. Such an invigorated CSCE will be an important complement to the Alliance, while not substituting for it.

The Atlantic Alliance will remain an essential pillar of any future European security structure. A unified Germany, firmly anchored in the structures of the West and fully participating in the strengthened CSCE, will make a critical contribution. Europe, including the Soviet Union, will gain the stability which must, after so many centuries of conflict, be the underpinning of a truly cooperative Europe. In such circumstances, the Soviet Union has everything to gain: peace, security, stability and genuine partnership.

The Alliance does not have to invent its political role: history has given it to us. Our agenda is ambitious, but not unrealistic. I look forward very much to our meeting here in Turnberry and our forthcoming Alliance Summit in London. Both will make important contributions to this effort and further chart the course ahead.

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