Updated: 19 November 1999 Speeches

OSCE Summit
19 Nov. 1999


by the Rt. Hon. Lord Robertson,
NATO Secretary General


I am grateful to the Chairman in Office for this opportunity to address the OSCE Summit. It is a significant occasion in our efforts to build a more united and peaceful Europe. It is also the first time an OSCE Summit has been addressed by a NATO Secretary General. My presence here today shows how increasingly close and mutually supporting the relationship between our two organisations has become.

This Summit underscores the OSCE's distinctive and vital contribution to European security. The OSCE plays a unique role which sets it apart from other international organisations. It stems from its comprehensive membership and the persistent, progressive commitment of OSCE participating States to develop the original Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe into the multi-faceted Organisation it is today.

Today's OSCE exemplifies the willingness of its participating States to find innovative and flexible means to realise their vision of common security and to assure a Europe without dividing lines. This objective inspired those who laid the foundations through the Helsinki Final Act of 1975 - and is just as vital today as it was then. NATO shares the same goals. The Alliance's Fiftieth anniversary Summit in Washington last April and our updated Strategic Concept confirmed that NATO remains committed to advancing security, prosperity and democracy throughout the Euro-Atlantic region.

NATO Allies fully support the OSCE's fundamental principles and its comprehensive and co-operative approach to security. OSCE has an increasingly important role in setting political norms and standards. Its vigorous approach to conflict prevention and crisis management and its role as a key framework for arms control negotiations are just some of the areas in which it makes its distinctive contribution. The updated version of the Vienna Document that has been approved, in the context of this Summit, shows how committed all the OSCE participating States are to strengthening stability and transparency in their military relations. Moreover, NATO also welcomes the central role of the human dimension in OSCE's comprehensive concept of security. The full respect and implementation of the OSCE commitments is of immediate and legitimate concern to all OSCE member States. These commitments cannot be considered as falling exclusively within the domain of their internal affairs.

NATO welcomes the adoption at this Summit meeting of the OSCE Charter on European Security ; in particular, the emphasis in the Charter on closer co-operation among international organisations. NATO has consistently stated its willingness to support OSCE's efforts to build security and stability in Europe and, in particular rnal affairs., to support peacekeeping operations under the responsibility of the OSCE. NATO Allies are therefore particularly pleased to note the progress the OSCE has made in defining its contribution to peacekeeping operations.

NATO also welcomes the adoption of the Platform for Co-operative Security. NATO Allies have already, in 1998, confirmed formally their willingness to co-operate with other organisations in the spirit and terms of the Platform. The Alliance's New Strategic Concept welcomes close practical co-operation between NATO and the OSCE, especially to bring peace to the former Yugoslavia. An outstanding example of such co-operation is that which has developed between OSCE and IFOR - and now SFOR - in Bosnia. Wider co-operation has developed in the areas of conflict prevention, peacekeeping, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation.

Kosovo has raised OSCE - NATO co-operation to a still higher level. First the unique nature of the co-operation between NATO and the OSCE's Kosovo Verification Mission saw the two organisations working creatively together in very demanding circumstances. Now KFOR continues to support the OSCE - and other organisations involved in the UNMIK effort - in particular by providing the secure environment necessary for them to carry out their important work. NATO stands ready to further develop this co-operation in the years to come. Indeed, security is not the concern of one organisation, but is a global concern which will only be properly achieved through co-operation between all relevant organisations.

We always need to look for new and better ways to integrate military and civilian efforts. In this regard, NATO believes that the Rapid Expert Assistance and Co-operations Teams (REACT) concept is a key innovation of the Charter on European Security. NATO welcomes OSCE's commitment to develop this civilian capability, which will contribute to a comprehensive crisis response capability in Europe.

Let me close by welcoming the completion of the process of adapting the CFE Treaty. The NATO Allies have worked hard in Brussels and Vienna to bring about this result. Our contribution to the adapted Treaty is a substansive one. NATO Allies now pledge to work towards bringing the adapted Treaty into force. NATO countries are, let us be blunt, concerned about continued Russian non-compliance with certain Treaty Limits. However, we positively note Russia's commitment to comply with all the Treaty's main provisions, including flank limitations. We all note Russia's assurances that its exceeding of CFE limits in the North Caucasus wil be of a temporary nature. NATO Allies expect Russia to honour its pledge to return to CFE limits as soon as possible and, while limits are being exceeded, to provide maximum transparency, in accordance with the CFE and the Vienna Document.

In fulfilling our commitments to the high standards of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, we all contribute to our common goal : a secure and stable Europe, in which countries and organisations work together to build lasting peace, true democracy, and stable Europe, in which countries and organisations work together to build lasting peace, true democracy, and basic human rights for all our peoples.

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