Updated: 15 June 1999 NATO Speeches


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

23 Apr. 1999


by the Prime Minister of Portugal, Antonio Guterres

We are here to underline a great achievement and to face a new challenge: the achievement of 50 years of peace in western Europe for the first time in Europe, and the challenge to build a ring of security from the Strait of Bering to the Strait of Bering, providing peace and security to the whole northern hemisphere. A ring that has in NATO its main pillar, a ring that has in the building of confidence within the triangle of NATO, Russia and Ukraine, its main key to success.

We are an Alliance. Have we got an enemy? I think yes. No longer a country, a system, an ideology. Our enemy is the rejection by so many in the world of the values of the Enlightenment, of reason as the foundation for behaviour in politics. Our enemy is extreme nationalism, religious fundamentalism, racism, xenophobia, ethnic cleansing. That is why we are active in Kosovo. That is why we must be active in Kosovo, we must succeed in Kosovo, fully guaranteeing the rights of the Kosovar people.

Of course, NATO is not the policeman of the world. NATO cannot be active everywhere in the world. It is sometimes difficult to explain why the international community remains indifferent or is unable to act when similar circumstances are seen in other parts of our world. We Portuguese are deeply aware of that because we have been following for the last two decades the tragedy of the people of East Timor, which we hope will be over soon.

But if we must strengthen our Alliance, we also must have the wisdom, the vision and the will to reform the political structure of international relations, to reform the system of the United Nations to make it more active and more effective. And to express to all peoples of the world that live in distress and in despair, our concern, our solidarity, and to send them from here, from Washington, a clear message of hope.

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