Presentation by Macedonian Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Secretary General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am honoured and privileged to address you today, for the first time as Minister of Foreign Affairs, in the framework of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, significant forum for positive dialogue and cooperation on all political and security issues among NATO countries and partner states.
At the onset, I would like to point out that the strategic objective and fundamental orientation of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia appointed only a week ago are full and accelerated integration in European and Euro-Atlantic associations and organisations. We are committed to a constant and positive change of the entire ambience in our country. The intensive programme and activities will facilitate economic development, strengthening of democracy and a democratic processes, rule of law, whereas the civil society building, through full respect for human, civil and minority rights on the basis of European standards, will facilitate decrease in inter-ethnic tensions. We wish to give genuine contribution to development of friendly relations and closer cooperation with all of our neighbours equally and actively, and will be initiative-minded in advancement of regional cooperation. We will make every effort for quality-based participation in all European and Euro-Atlantic structures. We hold that in that manner we will substantially strengthen and enhance prosperity stability and security of our country and will be more compatible to Euro-Atlantic processes. Thus, we will help build positive climate of peace, cooperation and mutual trust in the region we live in, what will constitute genuine input to positive processes of political cooperation and collective security of all countries represented at this eminent gathering.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Allow me to take this opportunity to remind that the first decision taken by the new Government of the Republic of Macedonia was to give consent to stationing of NATO Extraction Force in the territory of our country. Along with the establishment of Kosovo Verification Co-ordination Cell, this is an effectuation of the contribution and solidarity of the Republic of Macedonia with the efforts on the part of the international community, in particular NATO, for finding lasting and peaceful solution which will generate peace and stability in Kosovo, enable respect for territorial integrity of the FR Yugoslavia and respect for human and civil rights of all inhabitants.
The establishment of practically two NATO missions in our territory is considered by us a gesture of confidence, but also of the expected support, on mutual basis, what has been reaffirmed during the recent visit of Secretary General Solana and General Clark to our country. This is a further strong challenge for us in the realisation of our efforts aimed at full-fledged membership in NATO and I would like to stress that it contributes to the situation in which the Republic of Macedonia makes a step forward to full integration in the Alliance.
Mr. Secretary General,
The region of south-east Europe, or the Balkans, where the Republic of Macedonia represents a key country for peace and stability, is exposed to various challenges and serious threats. Therefore, we advocate that the process of NATO enlargement should cover this area, as well. We firmly support proposals for NATO enlargement, as part of individual security of individual countries, but as part of collective security as well. Having in mind the forthcoming Washington Summit to be held next April, we expect that the door left open for NATO membership will be further opened and that the intensive and active dialogue with countries aspiring for NATO membership will proceed, taking as a starting point the fulfilled criteria and contribution to the activities of the Alliance.
Already visible processes of Alliance transformation, the aim of which is to respond to challenges ahead of us in the next millennium, provide a real ground for the need the Alliance to be transformed into a wider collective security structure, as a warranty of peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic region.
At the end, the Republic of Macedonia, to this effect, fully supports the documents proposed at today's meeting: updated EAPC Action Plan 1998-2000, the Comprehensive Progress Report on Implementation of the EAPC Basic Document and enhanced Partnership for Peace. We would like to assure you of our firm determination to give active and substantial contribution to their implementation.