the Madrid

8 July 1997

Opening Statement

by the Secretary General
to the Press Conference

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,

We have just finished one of the most important meetings in the history of the Atlantic Alliance. Today, here in Madrid, the NATO of the 21st Century has been defined.

The most momentous aspect of the new NATO is that we are embracing the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. We have invited three Central and Eastern European countries - the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland - to open accession talks with NATO. I am confident that our parliaments will support NATO's enlargement.

Our decision today on who to invite to join NATO has been, as you all know, a crucial one. We have invited those that we believe are the most ready for membership. But Madrid is just the beginning of this process. We are enlarging today and we will enlarge again. The NATO door will remain open. As we have stated clearly in our Summit Declaration, we will review the process at our next meeting in 1999.

With regards to the aspiring members, we recognize with great interest and take account of the positive developments towards democracy and the rule of law in a number of Southeastern European countries, especially Romania and Slovenia. At the same time, we recognize the progress achieved towards greater stability and co-operation by the states in the Baltic region. The membership at a later date of the other countries will also bring great benefit to NATO. So it is not a question of whether they join but when.

To give substance to this commitment, we will maintain an active relationship with those nations that have expressed an interest in NATO membership as well as those who may wish to seek membership in the future.

Mais l'largissement ne doit pas tre considr sparment. Il s'intgre dans un ensemble beaucoup plus vaste, celui de la politique d'ouverture et de coopration de l'Alliance vis--vis de tous les pays d'Europe:

  • Ainsi, l'Alliance s'est rapproche de ses Partenaires en renforant son programme de Partenariat pour la paix et en crant un nouveau forum de rencontres rgulires avec eux, le Conseil de Partenariat Euro-Atlantique;

  • Paralllement, l'OTAN a jet les bases d'une relation nouvelle avec la Russie grce la signature de l'Acte fondateur OTAN-Russie, en mai dernier Paris;

  • De mme, demain, nous signerons avec le Prsident Kuchma la Charte instaurant entre l' OTAN et l'Ukraine un partenariat nouveau et efficace;

  • Nous n'oublions pas non plus les pays de la Mditerrane avec lesquels nous allons renforcer notre dialogue.


Vous le voyez, l'largissement n'est qu'une partie d'un ensemble beaucoup plus vaste. Toutes ces initiatives lances par l'Alliance devraient nous permettre d'aborder le 21me sicle dans une Europe plus stable et plus sre.

Ce sera le thme de notre runion de demain, avec nos 27 Partenaires, la premire au niveau des Chefs d'Etat et de gouvernement.

On the third topic - internal adaptation - we are also moving ahead:

  • We have developed a tangible European security and defence identity within the Alliance.

  • We are well advanced in our work on a new command structure that will make our military operations more flexible and efficient.

  • And, we have directed that work begin on ensuring that the Alliance's Strategic Concept is in line with the changed security environment.

  • At lunch we discussed the situation in Bosnia, and a special declaration has been issued on that subject.

  • The Special Declaration underscores NATO's deep concern with the political crisis in Republika Srpska. We expect the Peace Agreement to be upheld fully, political differences to be resolved democratically and the police to carry out their role properly in full cooperation with the UN's International Police Task Force. I spoke this morning to High Representative Westendorp and assured him that he has the full support of the Alliance and SFOR.

  • The Special Declaration also underscores NATO's commitment to and long-term interest in stability in Bosnia and the surrounding region. As we have made clear, there can be no military option for any party or ethnic group now or in the future. The political leadership and people of Bosnia must hear this message and get on with the task of implementing the Peace Agreement and rebuilding their country.

Allow me to conclude with a few words in Spanish:

En esta Cumbre de la OTAN que acabamos de concluir, una de las ms importantes de la historia de la Alianza Atlntica, Espaa ha reafirmado su intencin de participar plenamente en todas las estructuras, incluida la militar cuando sta se apruebe. Estoy muy satisfecho de este anuncio, ya que Espaa podr tener asi la oportunidad de desempear el papel que le corresponde. Espaa se va a sumar a una Alianza que se prepara para el siglo XXI. Una Alianza que de Madrid ha salido reforzada, con ms miembros, nuevas misiones y un componente europeo ms visible.

NATO will leave Madrid stronger and more effective than before. At the dawn of a new century, North America and Europe are once more uniting their energies to shape the future of this continent: more integrated, more dynamic and more secure.

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