PfP Defence
15 January 1998

Secretary General's remarks

"Partnership for Peace: A Political View"

Mesdames, messieurs,

Je suis trs heureux de pouvoir m'adresser aujourd'hui vous qui assistez cet important symposium. Bien qu'il n'en soit qu' sa deuxime dition avec les Partenaires, cet vnement est dj considr par beaucoup comme l'une des activits majeures du PPP.

Vous avez examin hier les moyens de rendre le Partenariat pour la Paix plus oprationnel.

Aujourd'hui, je voudrais avant tout largir la perspective du Partenariat pour la Paix en replaant son renforcement dans le contexte politique plus large de la transformation de l'OTAN. J'espre ainsi vous faire mesurer toute l'importance d'une participation ce Partenariat pour la paix renforc.

On a dit que rformer l'OTAN tait une gageure tant l'organisation voluait rapidement. Je crois que beaucoup d'entre nous ici partagent ce sentiment. En effet, depuis le dbut de cette dcennie, l'OTAN volue un rythme difficile suivre. Nous avons chang nos politiques, nos stratgies, nos structures. Parler d'une nouvelle OTAN aujourd'hui n'est pas pure rhtorique : d'une Alliance orientation dfensive, essentiellement passive, l'OTAN est devenue un instrument actif au service du changement politique en Europe. Aujourd'hui, l'Alliance atlantique est bien des gards un agent du changement politique. L'OTAN a un rle jouer pour favoriser la stabilisation de l'Europe centrale et orientale, associer davantage la Russie et l'Ukraine aux grandes volutions europennes et forger de nouveaux liens avec ses voisins du sud de la Mditerrane. En outre, en crant une Identit europenne de scurit et de dfense en son sein, l'Alliance apporte une contribution importante l'dification d'une Europe plus unie et, par consquent, d'une relation transatlantique plus mre.

La possibilit de voir l'OTAN remplir le rle de catalyseur politique dcoulait d'une apprciation essentielle porte par l'Alliance au dbut des annes quatre-vingt-dix : dornavant la coopration serait l'instrument stratgique cl pour faonner notre environnement de scurit. Au lieu d'investir nos ressources politiques et militaires dans la dfense contre une agression militaire de grande ampleur, nous pourrions dsormais axer nos efforts sur la cration des conditions permettant l'volution pacifique long terme de notre continent.

En rsum, au lieu d'empcher la concrtisation du "pire scnario possible", nous avions maintenant l'occasion de nous prparer au "meilleur scnario possible" : une nouvelle architecture de scurit euro-atlantique, dans laquelle tous les Etats auraient leur place lgitime, dans laquelle les risques de conflit seraient rduits un minimum, et dans laquelle nous disposerions d'instruments, si jamais des conflits venaient quand mme clater.

Il fallait donc que l'Alliance s'efforce activement d'aider ses anciens adversaires devenir des dmocraties stables et sres, possdant des structures militaires places fermement sous contrle dmocratique. Mais plus encore, elle devait s'adapter et crer des mcanismes nouveaux pour attirer tous les pays intresss de la rgion euro-atlantique dans un cadre gnral de coopration militaire - afin d'affronter les dfis nouveaux de la gestion des crises et du maintien de la paix.

L'Alliance a donc mis en place une structure et un programme d'ouverture, en crant tout d'abord le COCONA en 1991, puis le Partenariat pour la Paix en 1994, et le Conseil du Partenariat Euro-Atlantique l'anne dernire. C'est galement l'anne dernire que l'OTAN a invit trois nouveaux pays adhrer l'Alliance, qu'elle a conclu l'Acte fondateur OTAN-Russie et qu'elle a tabli un partenariat spcifique avec l'Ukraine. Toutes ces tapes s'inscrivent dans l'effort plus large que dploie l'OTAN pour effacer les anciennes lignes de division et pour crer de nouvelles lignes de communication et de coopration.

PfP has become the flagship of our cooperation effort. It has exceeded every expectation. Since its inception four years ago PfP has become one of the most successful military cooperation programmes in history. It has drawn 27 states of diverse backgrounds and security traditions into an ever-closer network of military cooperation. It is simply inconceivable today to talk about security structures in Europe without mentioning PfP.

PfP's role and objectives have been clear from the outset, and they have given the Partnership a very strong operational character. Fundamentally, PfP is about preparing for and managing crisis. It is about having soldiers, airman and sailors who can understand each other. It is about interoperability and forces that can operate together.

This "job description" of PfP may sound rather technical, and thus rather un-political. Yet from the outset, PfP had tremendous political implications:

  • in Bosnia, PfP not only helped setting up IFOR and SFOR, thus helping to end the violence. By helping to make such large-scale coalition possible, PfP also helped unite many nations of different security perceptions behind a common strategy. PfP thus helped avoid escalation in an escalation-prone region;

  • Albania, too, demonstrates the political value of PfP. By using PfP to help re-build the armed forces of this country, we make a political contribution to stability in a region of endemic instability;

  • ensuring the democratic control of armed forces also has tremendous political implications. Military forces which are accountable to a democratic civilian government are much less likely to be used for purposes that run counter to peace and stability. PfP has become our "transmission belt" to disseminate NATO's ideas on this subject. PfP thereby contributes to more healthy civil-military relations across the continent;

  • PfP has also helped prepare those three countries who were invited to join NATO last July at our Madrid Summit. Indeed, between now and the formal accession of the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary in 1999, we will use PfP to involve them ever more deeply in Alliance military planning.

All this means that the Euro-Atlantic community is growing, both in quantity and quality. The pool of resources we can draw on in managing crises is growing; the share of the security burden is being spread more evenly. And the possibilities for the Alliance and its Partners to exercise decisive influence on security developments throughout Europe have grown.

So PfP is about far more than military cooperation. It is a political investment in the long-term evolution of this continent.

Despite PfP's success, I believe you will all agree with me that the potential of NATO's cooperative approaches is still not yet fully exploited: Initial gains in interoperability through PfP greatly facilitated the integration of non-NATO forces into IFOR and SFOR. But there is room for improvement. Hence the continuing emphasis on making PfP more operational.

You have already heard a great deal about how PfP can become more operational, so I will not dwell on that subject. Let me say a few words, however, on how important this process is.

Consider the crisis in the former Yugoslavia in 1993, when the Alliance and its cooperation partners were reflecting on how they might cooperate to address the problem together. Think about what we did and did not have at that time.

We had the NACC, but PfP did not exist. The Alliance had no active military cooperation programme with non-NATO nations. The debate on possibly starting a modest peacekeeping exercise programme under the NACC had just begun.

Our forces could not speak to each other, had different maps, incompatible radios. In short, we were not prepared to cooperate in a joint mission. Our mechanisms for political consultations were not well-developed. Partners had no permanent political or military representation at NATO HQ or at Mons.

In January 1994 the Partnership for Peace was established, and it rapidly evolved from a mere concept to a major contributor to peace and stability in Europe. It brought Allies and Partners together for joint exercises and other activities that broadened and deepened our cooperation and enabled us to work together.

Less than two years later we launched IFOR with the full participation of 21 non-NATO partners. It wasn't easy or perfect, but it has worked and it continues to work, as SFOR, to consolidate the peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Beyond Bosnia, the Partnership is becoming operational within NATO itself. Partner officers will soon be serving in Partner Staff Elements within NATO's command structure. They will be involved early on in planning PfP operations and will be available to join CJTF headquarters when called upon. They will move on to leadership and staff positions at home, bringing to their national assignments their own years of NATO experience.

In the future, the partnership will not only be more operational militarily, it will also have a much stronger political dimension to it. The EAPC offers that potential. It provides us with the means to facilitate consultation and cooperation between the Alliance and those Partners who participate with NATO in a peace support operation.

If we make full use of its potential, the EAPC will also provide us with a mechanism to discuss a wider range of problems that affect Allies and Partners alike: civil emergency planning, international terrorism, defence planning, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, arms control issues, and regional security, to name only a few. The EAPC may still be a rather young creation, but it is bound to gather momentum.

This, Ladies and Gentlemen, is a picture of the operational Partnership that you are helping to realise. It is the picture of a new NATO, a NATO which increasingly reflects its commitment to wider Euro-Atlantic stability in the way it is organised - with the Partnership for Peace and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council at its very centre. It is a NATO much better prepared to manage Europe's long-term evolution.

We might never be fully prepared for the crisis of the future, but we will certainly be better prepared than we have been in the past. But perhaps most importantly, by strengthening our cooperation, by adapting ourselves to the new challenges, and by preparing for crisis, we are in fact reducing the chance of that crisis ever happening. This is the real payoff. Thank you.

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