Updated: 10 June 1999 NATO Speeches


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

23 Apr. 1999

Opening statement

by the Secretary General

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Fifty years ago, here in Washington, North America and Europe launched a visionary project: an Atlantic community of nations. For fifty years, this community has provided for the security of its members, protecting its nations against any form of aggression or intimidation.

But NATO has never been only about defence. This Alliance has always sought to promote peace in our countries and across the Euro-Atlantic area. And whenever new opportunities to build lasting peace and stability have arisen, NATO has seized them.

Over the past decade, those efforts have brought dramatic rewards. Today, NATO is at the centre of a new Euro-Atlantic security architecture as a source of stability, and a source of peace. NATO has extended the hand of friendship to many nations. Former adversaries have become friends, friends have become Partners, Partners have become full members of the Alliance.

Excellences, Mesdames et Messieurs, que de chemin parcouru! Cette volution montre la force de notre unit, la force de notre dtermination. D'ailleurs, ce n'est pas un hasard si les plus importantes ralisations de l'OTAN ont t accomplies grce cette unit et cette dtermination.

L'OTAN reste ferme face des souffrances humaines indicibles et des violations massives des droits de l'homme au Kosovo. L'Alliance atlantique montre qu'elle ne se contente pas de proclamer des valeurs communes mais qu'elle est prte les dfendre quand elles sont menaces. Notre Alliance a des principes et le courage de les dfendre.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, we have every reason to be proud. When great problems have called for great decisions, we have made them. The founding fathers of this Alliance would be proud of what we have done and what we are doing. Fifty years after its creation, the Atlantic Alliance continues to demonstrate that for us values have meaning. Even half a century after its founding, NATO remains a community that faces up to challenges.

This is the central message of our Anniversary Summit, a message that will reinforce the many initiatives that this historic meeting will generate, a message worthy of our Atlantic community. Thank you very much.

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