Updated: 14-May-2002 NATO Speeches

Meeting of the
15 Dec. 2000


by Niels Helveg Petersen,Minister of Foreign Affairs of Denmark

Since the end of the Cold War, we have worked hard to promote confidence and co-operation among countries and people of the Euro-Atlantic area. The enlargement processes of the European Union as well as of NATO and the establishment of the Partnership for Peace (PfP) are of particular importance in this regard.

The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) and the PfP contribute significantly to meeting the challenges of today's security environment. Through the EAPC and PfP, a large number of co-operation activities have taken root and have paved the way for political and military cooperation across the boundaries of the Cold War. The EAPC has proven to be an important forum for both consultations and practical political co-operation on Euro-Atlantic security issues and promotes transparency and openness among its members. I welcome the recent discussions on ways to further strengthen the EAPC and Partner contributions in this regard as well as the very useful paper on the role of EAPC and PfP in conflict prevention.

Today, we note the reports on The Enhanced and more Operational Partnership for Peace and the Operational Capabilities Concept. Denmark welcomes the general progress in implementing these Washington Summit initiatives. Rapid and efficient implementation is needed. We must make full use of The Political Military Framework. The earliest and fullest possible involvement of Partners in NATO-led PfP-operations is of great importance. The support and contributions from Partner countries are vital in securing the overall success of NATO operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo. Denmark wants this co-operation to continue and to further develop. The role of Partners in political guidance and oversight, as well as in planning and command arrangements, for such operations should be enhanced.

The democratic changes in Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia have generated new hope for stability and democracy in the region. But we still face challenges before democracy and stability are consolidated in the region, not least with regard to promoting reconciliation and the creation of sustainable multiethnic societies. The process will require massive international assistance and presence for a number of years. Denmark remains ready to provide its share, also in the coming years.

Initiatives such as the SEEGROUP1 and the SEECAP2 - both fostered by countries in the region within the framework of NATO's South East European Initiative - increase prospects for co-operation, security, and lasting peace. I commend the countries of the region on these initiatives.

Nine Partner countries participate as aspiring countries in the Membership Action Plan (MAP), decided at the Washington Summit last year. NATO's continuing enlargement process and MAP are of tremendous importance to the Euro-Atlantic security environment. The prospect of membership is in itself an integrating and stabilising factor. Denmark is committed to a substantial MAP process and to keeping enlargement on the agenda leading up to the next Summit. The aspiring countries should keep up their active engagement and work hard to implement necessary defence reforms and other MAP goals, thus preparing in the best possible way for eventual future membership. Recalling the words of the Washington Communique -aspiring countries will be considered on their own merits - geographical location has no bearing on membership.

European security is changing rapidly these years. A closer relationship between EU and NATO is emerging, and the EU and NATO enlargement processes are both moving ahead. NATO operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo provide stability and security in the region, and countries of the Western Balkans are moving towards democracy. This all adds substantially to the prospects of longer-term European security based on common values as well as on political and economic co-operation.

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