Meeting of
the North

3 June 1996

Logo Berlin Meeting

Opening Statement

by the Secretary General

We meet today at a significant time of transformation in Alliance history and in European affairs. The tragic war in Bosnia-Herzegovina has ended, but peace has not yet taken full root. East-West divisions have disappeared, yet the new security architecture is still emerging. NATO itself has changed; still, we must continue its adaptation so as to reflect the Alliance's full range of missions and to take full advantage of its capabilities.

We also meet at a significant place of transformation: in the capital of a united Germany and the city that stood for the success of the Alliances policy and transatlantic cohesion for over four decades. Its unification is now a symbol of the new era of partnership and cooperation. Just as Berlin has today become a symbol for the growing together of this continent, so our Alliance has taken on the task of doing its part in creating a stable security structure in the Euro-Atlantic community.

L'OTAN demeure une pierre angulaire de la scurit euro-atlantique.

En ces temps de rapide changement politique, aucune alliance ni aucune organisation ne peut se permettre de se reposer sur ses lauriers. L'Alliance va rester un instrument de pointe pour la gestion des problmes de scurit de l'Europe. Pour cela il faut continuer de s'adapter aux nouveaux dfis. Les dcisions que nous allons prendre ici influeront sur cette transformation la fois interne et externe de l'OTAN.

Notre Alliance poursuit l'adaptation de ses structures. Aujourd'hui, nous ferons un pas fondamental par la conclusion d'un accord pour la mise en oeuvre du concept de Groupes de forces interarmes multinationales. Nous disposerons ainsi des moyens de faire face rapidement et efficacement des eventuelles crises futures. La ralisation de ce concept rendra galement plus facile l'utilisation de moyens militaires sparables mais non spars l'appui d'oprations menes par l'Union de l'Europe occidentale. Notre runion Berlin constituera, ds lors, un jalon trs important dans l'mergence d'une identit europenne de scurit et de dfense. Les contours d'une Europe plus forte au sein d'une solide Alliance atlantique prendront ainsi forme.

Second, we will take stock of our mission in Bosnia- Herzegovina, as we approach the halfway point of the IFOR mandate. IFOR has been a resounding success. It is a vivid demonstration of what can be achieved if the European and North American Allies act resolutely to pursue shared objectives.

Yet security and stability in Bosnia-Herzegovina are far from being firmly established. IFOR will face new, difficult tasks ahead, such as helping to provide the conditions for free and fair elections in September. These elections will give the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina their chance to have their say on their future. IFOR will help ensure that they can make their choice for peace without fear.

Finally, we will enhance our contribution to security throughout the Euro-Atlantic area by broadening and deepening our dialogue and cooperation with Partners within the North Atlantic Cooperation Council and the Partnership for Peace. We will reaffirm our commitment to establishing ever closer ties with Russia. We will also pay special attention to our relation with Ukraine. Two countries which are of crucial importance for security and stability in Europe. And we will maintain our openness to new members through keeping our enlargement process on track.

This Council, as well as the meeting of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council tomorrow, demonstrates that this Alliance remains at the center stage of Euro-Atlantic security. We are moving ahead with confidence to meet the new challenges of a transforming era.

Thank you for your attention. This completes the Opening Session. May I now ask the press to leave the room.

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