Updated: 14-May-2002 NATO Speeches

Meeting of the
15 Dec. 2000


by Mr Keith Vaz MP, Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, United Kingdom

Thank you Mr Secretary General.

Let me thank Wolfgang Petritsch for his excellent briefing and the hard work, which he and his team have put into Dayton peace implementation. We face a clear challenge in Bosnia: building an effective state.

It is only by developing state structures, such as defence forces, which are committed to that common aim that Bosnia can take its place in Euro-Atlantic structures, such as PfP and the EAPC.

That brings me to today's theme: the role of the EAPC in enhancing Euro-Atlantic security through regional cooperation. The 40 nations working together in SFOR and KFOR offer an outstanding practical example of cooperative security in action.

The EAPC Working Group on South Eastern Europe is also making a valuable contribution to regional cooperation and transparency.
There is much in this cooperative approach to regional security that has applicability elsewhere. European and regional security in the 21st Century have to be about building long term relationships based on trust and transparency. Let me highlight three ways in which the EAPC contributes to that vital task:

  • first, consultation. We need to make full use of the opportunities that the EAPC and PfP provide for information sharing and exchange. We should also strengthen EAPC consultation with other organisations. Benita Ferrero Waldner's address to the EAPC last month as President in Office of the OSCE was a welcome precedent on which we need to build.
  • secondly, cooperation. Practical cooperation is a key strength of our partnership. I am particularly pleased that the nations of the region are taking this work forward together through the South East European Security Cooperation Steering Group. We also need to strengthen our joint work in the EAPC on issues that impact more widely on our security. 2001 will be a crucial year for advancing work to tackle the small arms problem, particularly with the UN conference now set for July. Energising work on small arms and light weapons in support of the OSCE document, agreed last month in Vienna, should be a priority.
  • thirdly, confidence building. We need to spread respect for internationally agreed norms and standards of behaviour. An example of this was the EAPC workshop on International Humanitarian Law, which we hosted last month in London with Switzerland. The workshop focussed on how we, as EAPC partners, could bring change at home by incorporating IHL in our military doctrine, training manuals and exercises. I very much hope that the EAPC will take this initiative forward.


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