At the EAPC-

17 Dec. 1997


by the Norwegian Minister of Affairs, H.E. Mr. Knut Vollebk

Mr. Secretary General,
Dear Colleagues,

I am greatly honored to be addressing you today as the first President d'Honneur of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council.

The formation of the EAPC reflects our common ambition to create a solid and co-operative post Cold War security architecture in Europe. It reflects our strong will to find solutions together to the security challenges of Europe, challenges which affect us all. In this effort the EAPC is a tool, not an end in itself. If it is to fulfill our expectations, it must be more than a place where prepared statements are read by 44 nations. The EAPC must tackle real and concrete concerns, to the benefit of all countries participating in it. As governments we must make full use of its potential for practical co-operation and political consultation on different levels.

A wide varierty of activities have been initiated under the heading of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and the Enhanced Partnership for Peace since the first meeting in Sintra six months ago. Today 44 nations participate in it on an equal footing.

This array of activities is no small achievment. It testifies to the success of the initiative. But it also presents us with particular challenges. The scope of activity and the wide membership may result in the smallest common denominator being too small for the EAPC to have a practical impact. We must therefore make sure that the interests of all partners are being addressed. This may not always be possible in a plenary setting. Regional arrangements within the wider EAPC framework is one way of meeting this need, as a supplement to activities in the wider framework. We have already seen interesting initiatives being taken on that score. We should explore this avenue further. (From a Norwegian perspective we see the Baltic Sea region as promising in this respect).

We are now about to adopt an Action Plan for the next two years, covering a wide range of concrete measures. They will help make the EAPC an operational tool. But this effort cannot be driven by NATO alone. We need the dedication and support of the partners, your bold ideas and initiatives, your flexibility and pragmatism, to make the EAPC the forum for co-operation we all want it to be.

First and foremost we must work hard together to ensure a successful implementation of the Dayton Accords. We have the power to see the accords implemented in full. We have the moral obligation to use this power. The EAPC could be one of the tools whereby we fulfill this ambition.

La communaut internationale s'est dj considrablement investie dans l'oeuvre consistant ramener la paix et la stabilit en Bosnie. Beaucoup de choses ont t ralises, en particulier au cours des ces six derniers mois. L'appui et le dvouement des partenaires en prsence n'est pas tranger cette volution. Il reste cependant beaucoup faire. La mise en application des dispositions de nature civile prvues par l'Accord de paix pose, et de loin, les plus grandes difficults. Les nombreuses organisations travaillant dans ce but - les Nations Unies, le Haut-reprsentant, et l'OSCE en particulir, dpendent du soutien constant de la SFOR. Nous devrions aussi nous charger d'apporter le soutien ncessaire aux organisations civiles. Je voudrais plus prcisment souligner le besoin de contribuer, dans une plus large mesure, aux efforts de reforme de la police et du systme juridictionnel en Bosnie. Sans cela, nous ne pourrons jamais esprer tablir la stabilit intrieure qui constitue le pralable tant un retrait militaire qu'aux rformes politiques et conomiques.

La SFOR et l'OSCE ont jou en Bosnie un rle complmentaire et un rle de soutien mutuel. Sur la base ce cette experince, nous pouvons conclure affirmativement que des organismes tels que l'OTAN, le CPEA et l'OSCE ont tous des rles importants jouer dans la prvention de conflits, et dans la restauration de la paix et de la stabilit dans les zones sujettes conflits.

As President d'Honneur I want to use this opportunity to underline our obligation to ensure that Bosnia-Hercegovina can one day join the family of democratic nations and take its place at this table. Two years ago we shouldered a heavy responsibility. We cannot walk away from this responsibility before the job is done.

In conclusion, may I say this: The EAPC will not automatically be a success. We all have a responsibility to make it succeed. I am greatly encouraged by the commitment of the partners to this end. Together our ambition should be to increase our efforts even more in the time to come.

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