by Mr. George
Papandreou, Minister of Foreign Affairs
of Greece and President d' Honneur
to the opening ceremony of NAC.
Mr. Chairman, ladies & gentlemen
First of all I wish to congratulate you on the highly successful manner
you are conducting today's meeting. NATO's contribution in this period
of changes. be them political as on the other side of the Atlantic, be
them strategic in my country's neighborhood, is mostly significant.
After the very important changes in the Balkans, our alliance must dare
to hope. For doing so we need both: to globalize principles and values
as well as to draw a creative, far reaching and lasting strategy for the
Balkans. We need to empower the region that has historically been handicapped,
dependent and divided by a world community of competing interests and
a babble of conflicting signals. This "balkanization" of the
region must be replaced by coordination of international efforts and regional
cooperation. Respecting international law and borders, human and minority
rights, condemning all acts of irredentism and criminal activism and offering
assistance in the region, this multifaceted message must come out of this
meeting. We should globalize peace in our area and educate how democracy,
dialogue and prosperity can be gained in multi-ethnic, multi-cultural
societies. We must promote long-term development throughout the region,
by helping to strengthen democratic institutions, respect for human rights
and international law.
Our objectives are to control potential sources of conflict, and to create
the prerequisites for political and financial development throughout the
region. This strategy is founded upon the principles of respect for sovereignty
and territorial integrity, respect of existing borders, and the dissuasion
of separatist tendencies and divisive ideologies. At the same time, we
actively promote the establishment of democratic procedures, and the protection
of human and minority rights.
I cannot therefore agree more with you that today's message to the Serbs
and to all others must be crystal clear and meaningful. Present opportunities
cannot be missed.
EU is taking a very important role in the region. Future membership of
countries of South Eastern Europe contains the prediction for a peaceful
path to integration.
Following the European Union Summit at Nice, we have to forge an enduring
and lasting relationship between our two Organizations. To build upon
the 50 year experience of our Alliance in unison with the autonomous will
of the Union's decision to act and react with a view to create an environment
conducive to peace, stability and prosperity; the workload and the divergence
of views among ourselves should not discourage us. We have to be sure
that - at the end of the day we will pave the way towards security, while
retaining the transatlantic link in kind.
In view of the present Euro-Atlantic security environment our Alliance
is to face new challenges. Within this framework we have established a
successful working relationship with Russia, a pivotal country for the
Eurasian region. The need for upgrading the existing cooperation through
the ever growing Working Programs and the necessity to bring along other
important countries such as Ukraine, reminds us of the long way we have
to run in order to reach an all- encompassing cooperation to the Continent's
Moreover, NATO did not disregard its Mediterranean dimension, an area
that several countries - like mine - border and which we have to bring
into a permanent and constructive peace.
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Since NATO was successfully tested during periods of wars and cold war,
there is no doubt that it will equally succeed in coping with the new
challenges of which are laying ahead of us.