At the Antalya
on Security
and Cooperation

26 Sept. 1997

A Workable Security Architecture

by the Deputy Secretary General,
Sergio Balanzino

The annual Antalya Conference has become a well established, international event. I am honoured to address you on behalf of Secretary General Solana, who regrets not being able to be with you today. But, as you probably know, he is in New York for the first meeting of the Permanent Joint NATO-Russia Council at ministerial level.

The theme of this conference is the European Security Architecture - a term that is frequently used, yet rarely ever defined. At the beginning of this decade, we seemed to have arrived at a workable definition. Back then, the Charter of Paris articulated a new security architecture for a new Europe along: the concept of "interlocking institutions". It was based on the idea that in this new Europe, security could only be managed by a combination of political, economic and military means. Accordingly, the major institutions had to cooperate closely in order to maximise their effectiveness.

The conflict in Bosnia shattered the optimism that had marked the early 1990s. The difficulties encountered by the major institutions in this conflict led many critics to dismiss the notion of "architecture". Institutional rivalry occurred. The Balkan tragedy turned many observers into cynics who now argued that the commitment to the creation of a European Security Architecture had never been more than lots of words and little substance.

I believe that these critics are wrong. I would maintain that despite some setbacks, a European security architecture is definitely taking shape. And I would also argue that it is in Bosnia where some of its elements have become most visible.

The conflict in Bosnia was a challenge for the institutions, and to the international community as a whole. Of course, it revealed weaknesses in the system of international cooperation. The will to cooperate was real, but the means to do so were inadequate. The OSCE did not have the political cohesion to act resolutely as a conflict manager. The EU was just starting to develop its common foreign and security policy. NATO had the means to act, but no political mandate. The UN could deliver the mandate, but not all of the necessary means. The conflict had raised the very pertinent question of how seriously the international community took its stated committment to a new Europe, whole, free and at peace.

The deployment of the international Implementation Force (IFOR) in December 1995 provided an answer to this question. This NATO-led operation was a true "first". It represented a unique international coalition for peace, including soldiers from more than 30 countries. IFOR was a major feat of military planning and skill. It also had a much wider significance. Incorporating a sizeable Russian contribution, it significantly changed the notion of NATO and Russia being forever locked in an adversarial posture. And it demonstrated the continued validity of a well-oiled multinational political-military structure such as NATO.

More than that, the international presence in Bosnia-Herzegovina also created in practice a working system of "interlocking institutions". Indeed, the peace-building process which emerged in Bosnia rests on mutual reliance, rather than competition, among institutions.

IFOR and SFOR have coordinated closely with the many other institutions currently rebuilding Bosnia. Without the secure environment provided by NATO and its Partners, the OSCE could not have organised democratic elections. Without IFOR and SFOR, the economic and political reconstruction efforts led by the EU, the UN and many non-governmental organisations could not have started.

So the project of a new European security architecture has been finally put back on track. And NATO played a crucial role in this.

For sure, we are still far away from a finalized system of "interlocking institutions". Close cooperation between our major institutions has still to be improved. Different institutions have different memberships. Even the political "philosophies" and approaches differ from one organisation to the other, but despite these obstacles, I would maintain that a workable architecture is feasible, and that it should remain our conceptual goal. In my view, an architecture will evolve if the key processes that shape Euro-Atlantic security continue to move into the right direction, for instance:

  • if the transatlantic partnership and the process of European integration both continue in a coherent and mutually reinforcing way, without marginalising any country;

  • if the evolution of Russia and Ukraine continues in a positive direction; and

  • if the wider process of Euro-Atlantic security cooperation is further deepened.

If these three processes remain coherent, we will get a workable system. As long as these processes evolve in a mutually reinforcing way, we will be better able to resolve crises and conflicts in a cooperative fashion. And a dynamic NATO is a key factor in ensuring that these processes remain on track.

Nothing could illustrate this better that our Madrid Summit last July. The decisions and initiatives it generated reaffirmed NATO's central role in building a new security architecture. Indeed, NATO is in an excellent position to ensure that the key processes I mentioned above will remain compatible and mutually reinforcing.

Let me start with the most vital task: ensuring the complementary evolution of a strong transatlantic link and the European integration process.

There is no need within such a distinguished audience to insist on the need for a strong transatlantic link. The Atlantic Community symbolized by NATO is one of the most successful political projects of this century, and it will remain so in the next. NATO's enlargement is the most vivid demonstration of this.

The strategic benefits of NATO enlargement should not be any longer in doubt. Enlargement will progressively remove the invisible barriers that still divide Europe. It will give the new democracies confidence in their further political and economic development. And it will prevent the expensive and potentially dangerous re-nationalisation of defence policies.

For sure, incorporating new members has a cost, but what new members bring to the Alliance has not to be neglected. They will add to our military resources and our political clout. For example, not only have the three invited countries - Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland - been contributors to IFOR and SFOR in Bosnia since the start, but the bordering country, Hungary, has also made its bases available for the support and transit of SFOR. New Allies will thus reinforce our capabilities for crisis management and peacekeeping, as well as help consolidate stability in their neighbouring regions. This stability-enhancing aspect will remain an important element of our enlargement process, and will therefore contribute to the overall security of existing Allies.

So the benefits of NATO enlargement may far outweigh the costs. And the history of the 20th century has told us that the costs of indifference are ultimately much greater than the investment in a strong, effective Alliance.

That is why NATO's contribution to the development of a European Security and Defence Identity is so important. A fairer sharing of the transatlantic security burden can only be achieved if the European Allies assume more responsibility. Yet they must do so in a way that does neither alienate the United States nor put those Allies who are not yet part of the European Union at a disadvantage.

With NATO's help, both goals can be achieved. Our new command structure will open the option of creating a European-led coalition. With NATO assets at its disposal, the WEU could be turned into a more visible actor, thus delivering on our burden-sharing commitment.

Of course, developing a European Identity in NATO means that we do it with Turkey. As a NATO Ally and Associate Member of the WEU, Turkey is involved in these processes. NATO would only lend its assets to the WEU after all Allies had agreed. Thus, the strategic coherence of NATO and a European Security Identity remains assured.

We have also made significant progress in contributing to the second major process leading to a more inclusive architecture: helping Russia and Ukraine to find their rightful place in this new Europe. The NATO-Russia Founding Act signed last May established a Permanent Joint Council between NATO and Russia. The first session of this new forum at ministerial level is taking place today in New York.

I am aware that some observers have voiced concern that this new forum could give Russia too much influence over NATO's policies. Let me assure you that these concerns are unfounded. The NATO-Russia Council is a distinct body from the North Atlantic Council. What we discuss with the Russians is what we agree to discuss with them - and, in my view, as we see the fruits of consultation, we can broaden the agenda. So Russia cannot expect to block NATO's own decision-taking. But what it can expect is that NATO will listen and take Russia's legitimate concerns seriously. It shows how we open the door to a deep and wide-ranging cooperation with Russia, and thereby show that there is a legitimate and important role for that country in this emerging architecture.

A legitimate role in this new Europe is also one of Ukraine's aspirations. As far as we are concerned, we have repeatedly stated that the independence and stability of Ukraine is of vital importance for European security as a whole. The NATO-Ukraine Charter signed at the Summit is our contribution to reaffirm this.

The third process that is crucial for a coherent architecture is the deepening of security cooperation across the entire Euro-Atlantic area. This is not an exercise in social engineering. As Bosnia has demonstrated, coping with regional crises and conflicts requires the broadest possible coalition. The burden of crisis management must not be carried by the NATO Allies alone.

Here, too, we have achieved a lot. Through Partnership for Peace, and most recently through the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, we have created mechanisms of cooperation which have never before existed in Europe. They allow all interested states to contribute to European stability. Even countries, like the ones in the Caucasus region or Central Asia or who come from neutral tradition are eager to involve themselves with NATO through PfP - ready to help in peace support operations and increasingly sympathetic to the ideals and goals of our Alliance. An even more responsive Partnership and the political consultation possibilities opened up by the EAPC will make sure that cooperative security remains the hallmark of the emerging architecture.

Given the success of our strategy of outreach it would be short-sighted if we would limit our cooperation to a rigid definition of Europe. For example, what happens along the Southern shores of the Mediterranean cannot be artificially separated from the architecture that is emerging along its northern rim. Accordingly, we are also deepening our Mediterranean dialogue. The creation of the Mediterranean Cooperation Group at the Madrid Summit will give NATO's Mediterranean dimension more focus and visibility.

All this shows how much our Euro-Atlantic community is evolving. The pool of resources we can draw on in managing crises in Europe is increasing. The share of the security burden is being spread more evenly. And the possibilities for the Alliance to exercise decisive influence on security developments throughout Europe have multiplied.

Turkey has been an active part of this evolution of NATO and of European security as a whole in the 1990s. It has been and is part of the European equation. It has played a fullrole in getting the Alliance to where we stand today: at the centre stage in the emerging new European architecture. It will be essential for the Alliance and for European security at large that Turkey continues to play so significant a role in the new NATO.

To conclude, the contours of a new security order for this continent are becoming more and more visible. NATO has a key role in this process - with Turkey playing its full part. Turkey, which as a valued friend and Ally, has every reason to look to its future with confidence.

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