At the XVth
NATO Workshop

22 June 1998

"Confronting the Security Challenges of the New NATO"

Keynote Address

by Dr. Javier Solana, NATO Secretary General

Presidents, Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted to give the keynote address to the 15th NATO Workshop. The Workshop provides an important forum for taking stock of what we have achieved, and, more importantly, for looking ahead. In my remarks this morning I will try to do both: highlight our achievements thus far, and indicate what still lies ahead.

Europe has entered a new security era. Most nations on this continent are displaying a remarkable sense of common direction and common purpose. Integration has become a defining characteristic of today's security environment. Institutions are opening up to embrace new members. New mechanisms of cooperation enable all countries to have a seat at the Euro-Atlantic security table. A common security space from Vancouver to Vladivostok is no longer a distant goal -- it's a work in progress.

NATO's agenda reflects this cooperative spirit, this ethos of adaptation and partnership. Yet, as the theme of this year's Workshop implies, the Alliance faces new challenges. Let me focus on the two most crucial challenges NATO is facing: first, identifying the new risks and instabilities in today's Europe, and second, developing and consolidating the tools that enable NATO to cope with these risks.

First, a word about the new risks. You probably have heard from other speakers about the risks posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, or by social unrest or environmental degradation. Allow me therefore to just focus on what I consider the most urgent challenge we need to overcome: regional conflict in the Balkans. The fragile peace in Bosnia and the crisis in Kosovo remind us that there are still parts of Europe plagued by instability. This not only poses a moral dilemma for us. It also represents a concrete security challenge. Our continent simply will not find lasting peace and stability if the Balkans remain volatile.

In Bosnia, we were able to break the fateful cycle of violence. The NATO-led Stabilisation Force is a unique and unprecedented example of what true, effective cooperation can achieve. Together, many nations and many institutions are helping - sometimes pushing - Bosnia towards a sustainable peace. We are still a long away from true reconciliation. But if the international community stands firm, we will make the parties realise that cooperation remains their only viable option.

For its part, the Alliance is showing its commitment to this goal with the continuation of SFOR's presence in Bosnia. In extending SFOR now, we are giving a clear message to all concerned: we will not leave before the job is done.

Bosnia demonstrates the importance of a coherent international approach to crisis management. It demonstrates the need of close interaction between institutions. And it brings home the crucial role of NATO in helping to implement the wider strategy by the international community.

Such an approach must also be taken regarding Kosovo. Clearly, Kosovo is not Bosnia; no two crises are the same. But the events in Kosovo display many characteristics that have become all too familiar in the Bosnian conflict, most notably the revival of the cruel practice of "ethnic cleansing".

We have to put an end to this outrage. A new Europe based on shared values can only be built if we are ready to uphold these values when they are threatened. In Bosnia, we have seen that we can make a difference if we follow a coherent strategy combining political, economic and military pressure. There is no reason why such a comprehensive approach should not have a similar effect in defusing the Kosvo crisis.

Let me be clear: like in Bosnia, it is the parties themselves who are ultimately responsible for their future. But if the violence continues, then the international community must take action and help create the conditions for serious negotiations towards such a political settlement.

NATO stands ready to play its role in this effort, just as we did in Bosnia. Over the last weeks we have demonstrated our readiness to back up international diplomacy with military means. The successful air exercise last Monday demonstrated our ability to project air power rapidly into this region. Our military authorities are looking now at a wide range of options. And no option - I repeat, no option - is being ruled out.

Now is not the time to lessen our pressure. The international community must push forward with their efforts to reach a peaceful settlement. UN, NATO, EU, OSCE: all institutions must play their full part in preventing another Bosnia.

Bosnia and Kosovo represent the new risks of a Europe in transition. They bring home the fact that deterrence and territorial defence are no longer enough. To cope with risks like these requires an entirely new set of tools and instruments. NATO has put some of them in place. Let me focus on the most important ones.

First, the Partnership for Peace. This initiative has provided us with new ways of cooperating across the Euro-Atlantic area. PfP has enabled 27 countries with different security policies and traditions cooperate on security - from Austria to Romania, and from Hungary to Finland. Each Partner can decide the degree of his involvement in the Partnership; each country can tailor its participation to its specific needs and interests. All this gives PfP a tremendous potential. It is the first step towards a wider security culture on this continent and indeed beyond.

The major focus of the Partnership is enhancing our ability to work together - be it on humanitarian operations or peacekeeping missions. But the Partnership has also demonstrated its value in projecting stability in a crisis. In the Kosovo crisis, both Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia have made use of the consultation opportunities provided by PfP. We will be holding PfP exercises in both countries, and we have advised them on how to control their borders and cope with the influx of refugees. We have also opened a Partnership Cell in Tirana this month. Together, these measures have helped avoid a spillover of the crisis and reassured both Partners that NATO will contribute to their stability in an emergency.

The fact that so many non-NATO countries have contributed significantly and successfully to the SFOR in Bosnia, and that so many are indicating their readiness to help support the enhanced Partnership activities in Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, testifies to the success of the Alliance's effort to build new ties of partnership and cooperation with countries throughout the Euro-Atlantic region.

These ties will be further strengthened by our cooperation in the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. The EAPC brings together all NATO and Partner countries to consult on all issues of European security, ranging from peacekeeping to terrorism to even regional cooperation.

Like the Partnership for Peace, the EAPC has already demonstrated its values as a means of crisis prevention. Just a few weeks ago we inaugurated the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre in Brussels. Today, this Centre is already playing its part in addressing the Kosovo crisis, by supporting the UNHCR with carrying aid into the region.

PfP and EAPC are NATO's most visible multinational instruments to shape the evolution of Euro-Atlantic security. But they are not the only ones. Our dialogue with Southern Mediterranean countries is helping to foster new relationships in this vital region. And, last but not least, our distinct partnership with Ukraine offers new avenues for cooperation with a country of crucial importance for stability and security in Europe.

But there is yet another instrument that we need to develop further if our goal of a comprehensive Euro-Atlantic security architecture is to become a reality: the new partnership with Russia. One cannot build such an architecture without Russia, let alone against it. Bosnia and Kosovo made it crystal clear: if the international community is to act effectively in European crises, Russia must be on board.

The mechanism to have Russia on board is there: the Permanent Joint Council. It gives NATO and Russia a unique forum to consult on all issues affecting their security: peacekeeping, nuclear safety, NATO-Russia cooperation in SFOR, armaments-related cooperation, terrorism, the retraining of retired military personnel - these are just some of the areas of our work.

And we are enhancing military-to-military contacts, adding to our very successful cooperation in the Stabilisation Force in Bosnia.

Our major common concern at the moment is, of course, Kosovo. At last Thursday's meeting of the PJC, both NATO and Russia reaffirmed their support for the international efforts to achieve a peaceful resolution of this conflict.

We also hope that assurances given by President Milosevic during his recent meeting with President Yeltsin will be transformed into deeds. We have not got much time left.

Of all the many new instruments NATO has created over the course of this decade, the NATO-Russia relationship is perhaps the most innovative. It signals most dramatically how far Europe - and NATO - have changed. But Europe is changing in many more ways. The European integration process is one example of Europe assuming a new quality: Europe is not only widening, but also deepening.

This brings me to the last instrument I would like to elaborate on in my remarks today: a stronger European personality within NATO.

Monetary Union is only the latest step in Europe's evolution into a unified strategic actor. A Common Foreign and Security Policy is being shaped. A European Security and Defence Identity is beling developed within NATO.

The transatlantic link is and will remain absolutely vital to the continued success of the Alliance. But a new NATO requires a new balance of responsibilities. It requires that Europe play a security role in line with its economic strength.

Such a re-balancing is fully in line with the interests on both sides of the Atlantic. The United States will not always want to take the lead in each and every crisis in Europe. There may be situations where a supporting role for a European-led coalition may seem more appropriate. That is why all allies fully support the development of a European Security and Defence Identity.

With both sides of the Atlantic agreeing on the strategic importance of an European Security and Defence Identity, it has been possible to make rapid progress in creating these new political and military options. NATO's ever closer relationship with the WEU has provided us with new options for European-led peacekeeping and crisis management operations drawing on NATO assets and capabilities.

Later this year we will start the process of testing these arrangements, leading in the year 2000 to a full trial.

As a result, we will have set the stage for Europe to play a security role more in line with its economic and political strength. It will be NATO's contribution to a new transatlantic bargain, a bargain that better corresponds to the political, military and economic realities of the 21st century.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Talking about security risks and challenges is not an expression of pessimism. Indeed, compared to previous transition periods in European history, this continent is doing remarkably well. NATO's discussion of risks is a discussion of how to solve them. No problem is insurmountable, provided we approach it with the right instruments. NATO offers many of these instruments: partnership and cooperation, military competence, and transatlantic solidarity. This is a formidable combination. If we make full use of these instruments, NATO and its Partners can, together, cope confidently with any contingency the future may hold.

Thank You.

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