Updated: 23 April 1999 NATO Speeches

At the
of the 50th

23 Apr. 1999


of the Prime Minister of Iceland, David Oddson

Secretary General Solana,
President Clinton,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

NATO is unique. There is no example in history of any other military or defence alliance of free countries which has operated for so long and in such close harmony. But what matters most of all is the result. NATO has flawlessly succeeded in fulfilling its fundamental objective: the peace and security of its members. And in recent years the Alliance has been playing a key role in Partnership with a large group of countries and other organizations in creating the principles for enduring peace throughout the continent.

What is the magic formula for this success? Three words tell the whole story: faith, conviction, will. Faith in the course of democracy and peace, the conviction that democracy and peace are values which it is worth expending large resources to secure, and the will to do so and to make the sacrifices that prove effective.

Within NATO, the same interests are shared by the greatest military power of all and a nation with no armed forces of its own, yet which has the longest parliamentary tradition in the world. Bonds of friendship stretch across the Atlantic, the collective security of Europe and America, bonds that have remained firm and proved decisive in two crucial instances this century, during a world war and the Cold War that followed.

And now, on its 50th Anniversary, NATO has assumed the burden to defend a persecuted people on the Alliance's doorstep against a terror that no-one else could respond to.

NATO does not exist for its own sake. Its existence is based on the support and trust of its member states, members who have the faith, the conviction and the will to secure peace and democracy in Europe. Iceland is proud to be a member of NATO and to work together with the countries which form a unique Alliance.

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