18 Mar. 1997

Keynote Speech

by the Deputy Secretary General

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me begin by thanking Deputy Foreign Minister Yanai for his kind words of welcome. I would like also, through him, to express the great appreciation of NATO for the generosity and hospitality of our Japanese hosts.

This is the fourth NATO-Japan Security Conference. We have, since the Conference began in 1990, established a good and valuable relationship and dialogue between us. Over the years we have seen the agenda grow and deepen. On the NATO side, we very much attach importance to our discussions with Japan, both here and in Brussels.

The relationship between NATO and Japan is a natural and logical one. The world has become a smaller place. Technological progress has shrunk geographical distances, and instant communications are providing us with immediate access to worldwide information at a fingertip. Economic interdependence has made us aware of the fact that the notion of the "global village" no longer describes the future; it has become a reality.

While these trends are generally positive, they also have negative implications. The most obvious is the fact that our industrial societies have become far more vulnerable to international instability than ever before. Whether the issues are explosive demography, migration, or resource conflicts, it is clear that developments in other parts of the world affect us far more seriously now than they ever did in the past. And this is true for North America, Japan and Europe alike.

Both the Alliance and Japan are undertaking new responsibilities in the aftermath of the Cold War. Although our focus of activity is in different parts of the world, we have many points of common interest. This is especially so as we share an interest in promoting regional and global stability. We are both, for example, interested in building a constructive relationship with Russia. The threat of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction poses a danger and concern for us all. We both see a strong and vigorous role of the United Nations as a necessary basis for promoting regional stability and the peaceful settlement of conflicts.

Although NATO considers itself an organisation dealing with security in the Euro-Atlantic area, there is nothing that would inhibit us from comparing notes with our friends in the Pacific who share our interests in promoting cooperation and stability. This is all the more true as Japan holds an observer status at the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, bringing it closer to the Euro-Atlantic agenda.

We meet at a particularly significant time for NATO. In less than four months, we will be holding a key Summit meeting of NATO leaders. Decisions will be taken there which will shape the security environment for Europe as a whole.

Most outside observers are portraying our July Summit as an "enlargement Summit". By any standard, the accession of new members to NATO will be an important, even pivotal, event for the Alliance and, of course, for those who join. However, NATO's enlargement will be part of a broader series of decisions intended to benefit European security as a whole. The context in which enlargement takes place is as important as the act of accepting new members itself.

For example, one of the key goals we have set ourselves is to develop an agreement with Russia on a fundamentally new relationship. Javier Solana, NATO Secretary General, is currently developing a document with the Russians which sets out both the principles and the details of a strong, stable and enduring partnership between NATO and Russia. Difficulties and questions remain on both sides. But real progress is being made, and I am optimistic that we will see the outlines of an agreement emerge in the weeks to come. We hope that this week's Helsinki Summit will help move both sides towards this objective.

With a new NATO-Russia agreement in place, we will see the start of an entirely new era in modern European history - one of unrestricted cooperation across the whole of the Euro-Atlantic space. This will have positive results for the whole of Europe, and its benefits are likely to reverberate here, in Asia, too.

Let me give you another example of the wider context. Our strategic partnership with Russia will go hand-in-hand with an enhanced Partnership for Peace for those countries who do not join NATO.

A few months ago, the North Atlantic Council established the Senior Level Group (SLG), bringing together high level decision-makers from NATO capitals, under my chairmanship, to work out practical measures for closer cooperation in the Partnership for Peace.

The ideas we are currently considering are far reaching. For example, in the operational sphere we have agreed to expand the scope of the Partnership to include the full range of peace support operations. That includes activities such as conflict prevention, peace enforcement and peace building in support of the UN and OSCE. We are also looking at another initiative - which is a new Atlantic Partnership Council. This would provide a single new political framework to embrace enhanced practical cooperation under PfP, as well as expanded political consultations between NATO and its Partners.

In developing a Partnership concept for the Euro-Atlantic area, we take into account the specific needs and interests of each of our Partners. We are also developing a distinctive relationship with Ukraine, recognising that country's important position in Europe. The rationale is straightforward. Security and stability can only be achieved in Europe if those countries which emerged with great hopes from Communist regimes can preserve their independence and fulfil their ambitions to live in democratic prosperity.

NATO's enlargement, a deeper PfP, and a strategic partnership with Russia should therefore not be seen in isolation. They are, all three, part of a series of steps to make Europe peaceful, undivided and democratic.

In order to turn this vision into a reality, NATO is itself undergoing a major transformation. We are about to change our military structure. It will be streamlined and optimised for crisis management and peacekeeping missions. It will be more open to cooperation with our Partners in real operations. And it will also reflect a greater European responsibility for security matters within NATO. Completing NATO's internal adaptation is therefore of major significance. It is the pre-requisite for the new NATO and for its new, wider role in European security.

Let me end by saying that within NATO we have noted and welcomed Japan's growing role in regional and global security. Since our last conference, Japan has increased its involvement and participation in UN peacekeeping operations. In Bosnia, you have made a very generous and welcome contribution to the reconstruction of that war-torn country. Japan's participation in the G-7 also gives her an influential part in all the key political and economic issues of the day.

In sum, the prospects for cooperation between Japan and NATO are growing. Our areas of interest are converging in certain respects. The Allies have considerable expertise to share. Outside these conferences, we maintain a constant contact, and NATO has invited Japanese experts to selected PfP activities and seminars. As NATO moves to an enhanced relationship with our Partners in Europe, I believe we will continue to develop our relationship with our friends in Japan. This conference will provide a good starting point for discussing the issues that will confront us both over the coming important, even decisive, years.

Concluding Remarks

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends

This has been a very interesting and useful conference. It has come at a decisive time in Euro-Atlantic security. Developments in the months ahead, such as NATO enlargement, a new Partnership for Peace, and the strategic partnership with Russia will have a combined positive effect on European security and stability as a whole.

Of course, NATO is only one actor on the European scene. Other institutions, such as the European Union, Western European Union and the OSCE, are also contributing significantly to making Europe a safer and more stable continent.

However, at this moment, the spotlight is on NATO. The decisions we are now preparing for July's Summit will take us one major step further towards our vision of a Europe which is peaceful, undivided and democratic.

NATO itself is about to go through a major change. The organisation will be adapted so that we can cooperate more closely with Partners. Operationally, we will be better prepared for crises, such as the one in Bosnia. Over time, the Europeans will take on grater responsibility within the Alliance for their own security.

All these are exciting and far-reaching developments. They are issues which will interest our Japanese colleagues. For our part, we have been very interested to hear their assessments of European and Asian security. Certainly, the Conference has shown how valuable it is for us to discuss and debate these issues together. We will keep our Japanese friends informed in the period ahead through our contact in Brussels. Mr. Yanai, I thank you again for your exemplary hospitality and for making this event of such interest. We look forward to another major conference in Brussels in two years' time.

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