Updated: 23 April 1999 NATO Speeches

of the North
at the level
of Heads
of State
and Government

23 Apr. 1999


by NATO Secretary General Javier Solana

Good morning. Allow me to welcome you all to this first meeting of the NATO Heads of State and Government at 19. I extend an especially warm greeting to those representing their country for the first time at a NATO Summit - and in particular to the leaders of the three new members of the Alliance.

I should also like to thank the Government of the United States of America for its arrangement of the Summit.

We have gathered here in Washington for a historic 50th anniversary. This Alliance for half a century has assured peace, stability and freedom of the European continent. As we celebrate past achievements, we are determined to see these principles carried into the next century.

As we meet in Washington today, Europe is confronting a serious crisis. Images of hundreds of thousands of deported people, burned homes and destroyed villages recall scenes we had hoped never to see again.

The crisis in Kosovo represents a fundamental challenge of the values of democracy, human rights and the rule of the law for which the Alliance has stood since its foundation. That is why the 19 democratic nations around this table could not remain indifferent. That is why we had to act.

As we continue our military operations with the ultimate aim of securing a just political solution to the crisis, NATO Allies are united in their resolve to see this challenge through.

The Alliance must - and will prevail. Milosevic must know - there is no place for his policies in Europe on the eve of the 21st century.

The vision of this Europe is one in which all nations can live together in peace and prosperity. It is a Europe whose people feel secure, threatened neither by their neighbours nor by their own rulers.

NATO is playing its part to help this vision come true, together with its Partners in the Euro-Atlantic community. I am confident that our meetings today and over the next few days will contribute to this goal.

I would now like to give the floor to our host, President Clinton, the floors is yours.

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