NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson
at the Summit on the Contribution of New Democracies to
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me begin by thanking the Bulgarian Government for
hosting this meeting and to you all for attending. It
is difficult for any leader to be away from home in current
circumstances. Your presence here is a testament to the
importance of the Euro-Atlantic security agenda.
One issue has dominated the world's attention over the
past few weeks. We are still trying to come to terms with
the horrific terrorist attacks in the United States on
It has been a searing time of self-examination. A tragedy
of this scale rips away illusions. It forces us all to
look at hard truths, and to demonstrate, through word
and deed, where we stand -- and what we stand for.
The response from the Euro-Atlantic community has been
exactly what it should be: total condemnation of the attacks;
an outpouring of heartfelt sympathy for the United States;
and a determination by all like-minded nations to stand
together against terrorism.
NATO has played a fundamental part in this response.
Within 24 hours of the attacks, NATO's member states invoked
Article V of the Washington Treaty. They decided that
if it was determined that the attacks originated from
abroad, it would be an attack on them all. This was a
political symbol of immense importance. Three days ago,
on 2 October, it was indeed determined that the attack
had been directed from abroad and that Article 5 came
into effect for the first time ever. And yesterday afternoon,
NATO agreed a package of specific measures to support
the broader US-led coalition against terrorism.
But NATO has been only one element of a wider Euro-Atlantic
response. On 12 September, the 46 members of the Euro-Atlantic
Partnership Council met and issued an extremely strong
statement of support for the United States agreeing that
these acts were an attack on their common values, and
that they were all determined to combat terrorism.
Within 24 hours of the atrocities, Russia expressed her
outrage and gave the pledge that the acts must not go
unpunished. Ukraine followed, with its support for NATOs
In so doing, the new democracies have demonstrated once
again that they are not fair-weather friends. They have
emphasized that the Euro-Atlantic community is growing
quickly from a community of shared values to a community
of shared action.
You will not expect me to talk today about specific military
measures. Yet we must also start to consider the longer
term challenges that we now face. It is still too early
to have all the answers. But we clearly must do better
at finding and sharing reliable intelligence on terrorists
and their networks. We must trace their money and freeze
it. We must deny them safe havens, anywhere in the world.
And, where necessary, we must use force to prevent them
from causing further loss of innocent life.
This is a daunting project. Some people are afraid that
the challenge will direct NATOs attention and our
resources away from other important issues. In particular,
they fear that NATO enlargement might end up as collateral
damage as the result of such a change of direction.
So let me be very clear: Yes, the events of 11 September
have changed many things. Yes, they have brought into
sharp and painful focus what we have been saying for some
time now that the threats to international security have
changed. Yes, there will be many serious implications,
including for NATO. But no, they have not invalidated
NATO's pre-September agenda. If anything, they have reinforced
the logic of that agenda.
To tackle terrorism effectively, we must look beyond
terrorism itself, to security more broadly. Instability
and violence is the most fertile ground possible for terrorism.
By contrast, there is no more hostile an environment for
a terrorist than a stable, prosperous country in a peaceful,
secure region. That is why part of our overall campaign
must be to stay the course across the range of activities
in which we are already engaged, to build stability and
prosperity in the Euro-Atlantic area.
Supporting stable, multi-ethnic states is our best insurance
against terrorism emerging in the first place. Afghanistan
is a safe haven for terrorists precisely because it does
not have a viable state structure. It is a "black
hole". That is why NATO is engaged in South-East
Europe, to prevent such "black holes" from emerging
on our doorstep.
The events of last month have also reinforced the logic
of NATO enlargement. As we look forward to next November's
Summit, the political and military importance of NATO's
Open Door is as strong as it has ever been.
The political logic is clear. The aspirant countries
have demonstrated very clearly over the past weeks that
they share the same values as NATO members and the same
determination to defend these values. Without hesitation,
they have offered their full political, moral, as well
as practical support, and reinforced anew the logic of
But what about the military logic of enlargement? Would
not bringing in new members simply further drag down NATO's
Again, my answer is unambiguous: absolutely not. The
experience of the three newest members is a living testimony.
Certainly, in many areas they still lag behind the most
advanced Allies. That was to be expected, and the Czech
Republic, Hungary and Poland are actively addressing their
shortfalls. But where they can make a contribution, they
do so -- and in the Balkans, for example, that contribution
is both real and significant. Poland has over one thousand
troops in Kosovo as part of KFOR. Hungary and the Czech
Republic have contributed hundreds of personnel to that
mission. All three countries have made significant and
longstanding contributions to the NATO-led peacekeeping
operation in Bosnia. And Czechs and Hungarians took part
in NATOs successful Operation Essential Harvest
in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
So new members can make an immediate military contribution
to NATO's operation. But the same also applies to the
Aspirant Countries. All nine have contributed their forces
to the peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and Kosovo.
Of course all of the prospective members need to make
improvements. That is why NATO has a focused programme
to work with the aspirant countries to help them attain
higher standards. Through our Membership Action Plan,
the Alliance is cooperating closely with aspirant Governments
and militaries, to improve their ability to take care
of their own defence, and their ability to perform joint
missions with NATO forces. That way, by the time the aspirants
join, they will be net contributors to security. The burden
of managing security in Europe will then fall on more
shoulders. And that is in everyone's interest. So the
enlargement process also makes sense militarily.
My message is simple: the terrorist attacks have neither
derailed the enlargement process, nor slammed NATO's door
shut. The logic of enlargement remains as compelling today
as it was on 10 September 2001.
But let me be clear: the strong logic of enlargement
must be matched by the effort needed to make it happen.
Solidarity with the Euro-Atlantic community and shared
values are necessary benchmarks but they are not in themselves
sufficient. Aspirant countries must meet NATO's political
and military standards before they can join the Alliance.
I am impressed, as are all NATO's members, by the progress
achieved by the nine aspirant countries to-date. The two
rounds of the Membership Action Plan have clearly shown
your commitment and determination.
But those two rounds have also illustrated how much is
yet to be achieved. And the events of the past weeks put
this message much more bluntly than any 19+1 meeting ever
can. They demonstrate that internal stability and security
of any member country current or prospective is an essential
element of Alliance security. This means not only effective
police, border guards and judiciary system, but also ensuring
good relationships between different ethnic groups. It
means good relations with neighbours, and tackling such
difficult issues as corruption, money laundering and organized
crime. And it demonstrates the importance of defence reform.
It is no use having heavy metal armed forces which are
structured for threats we no longer face, and which cannot
contribute to the kind of Allied operations the new threats
NATOs success is based on many ingredients. But
perhaps the most important is that there are no free riders
in the Alliance. That is why NATO solidarity is so strong,
even in times of crisis, and why the Alliance can bring
so many resources to bear in times of need.
Becoming a member of NATO means developing the right
capacities, making the necessary reforms, and devoting
enough resources. The standards of membership cannot be
I know that meeting these standards can be onerous at
times. I know because even existing NATO countries have
to work very hard to meet them. But I encourage aspirant
countries not to let their efforts lag. The Prague Summit
is only a year away. Important decisions will be taken
in the run-up to the meeting, and at the meeting itself.
It is vital that all nine aspirants keep up the momentum
that they have already established.
And that effort cannot end in Prague, or at any other
arbitrary date. Receiving an invitation to join NATO isn't
like finishing a sprint. It's more akin to earning a ticket
to begin the marathon. But the rewards of these long-term
efforts are very clear: more security, for new members,
for NATO as a whole, and for the broader Euro-Atlantic
area. All in all, a win-win situation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The terrorist attacks on 11 September hit many targets.
They took thousands of innocent lives. They destroyed
major landmarks. And they struck a hard blow at the global
But they missed their main target: our way of life. We
will go on building security, promoting democracy, protecting
universal human rights, and preserving cultural and religious
freedoms. And NATO will continue to play a central role
in these efforts. By helping to punish those who committed
this crime. By helping to root out terrorism wherever
it exists. And by continuing to broaden our community
of peaceful, cooperating democratic nations. Because nothing
will serve better to defeat the terrorists and their sponsors
than the continuing, and growing safety and prosperity
of our citizens throughout the Euro-Atlantic.