Updated: 07-Dec-2001 NATO Speeches

7 Dec. 2001


of H.E. Mr. Mircea Geoana,
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania
at the EAPC Ministerial Meeting

  • An unprecedented sense of growing solidarity governs our meeting. One can sense it. Yesterday's NAC decisions have reinforced it. We should seize this momentum.

  • My statement will touch on some of the key challenges for our joint action: counter-terrorism, South-Eastern Europe and enlargement as part of the new security environment.

  • Terrorism is the first challenge we must deal with globally. We have already agreed on some responses and started to implement them. The magnitude of the task ahead of us is matched only by our determination to succeed, at national, regional and global level.

  • Romania has acted as a natural Ally. We have opened our airspace, airfields and port facilities to allied forces. We have offered intelligence and rescue forces to the campaign against terrorism. We have modified our legislation on terrorism and the structure and function of the forces engaged in fighting it.

  • At the regional level. Romania has proposed concrete measures to extend the scope of the SECI Regional Center in Bucharest to cover terrorism, given the close links with organized crime. The agreement concluded yesterday, between EUROPOL and US Law Enforcement agencies creates new opportunities for including the Bucharest SECI Center in the trans-atlantic cooperation network on combating trans-border crime.

  • Romania contributes to the Stability Pact organized crime initiative and to the counter-terrorism measures in this framework.

  • The ink has not yet dried on the Bucharest Action Plan to fight terrorism, which we initiated in September. This was endorsed on 4 December by Foreign Ministers of all 55 OSCE countries. We have already started work in Vienna on the best ways to implement it and monitor its implementation.

  • In a couple of days, Central Asian countries and their partners will gather in Bishkek, under the aegis of the OSCE, for a Conference on combating terrorism. It is a premier in the region. We hope the conference will sow the seeds of increased cooperation in Central Asia on a topical issue.

  • Stability in South-Eastern Europe is critical for our security and for our efficient fight against terrorism. South-Eastern Europe is the bridge between NATO countries and our EAPC partners to the east. It is geographically at the heart of NATO's Southern flank. It is transitioning from a painful past to what could be a new future.

  • A stable and prosperous South-Eastern Europe is our insurance policy against new risks and threats. It is an essential barrier to assymetrical threats such as terror and illegal trafficking, illegal immigration and crime. It can be a model for other regions to find the right solutions for their own troubles. We have a responsibility to help the new South-Eastern Europe emerge from the shadows.

  • Romania has assumed the mission to help stabilize South-Eastern Europe. In concert with NATO and EAPC member states, Romania has focussed extensively on South-Eastern Europe. We shall continue. In 2002, Romania chairs a host of regional initiatives:

    • The SEEGROUP - a steering group of South East European countries and interested NATO allies and partners;

    • The Third Working Table of the Stability Pact, devoted to security, defence, justice and home affairs related issues;

    • The Process of Defence Ministers' Cooperation - SEDM;

    • The first ever multinational force in South-Eastern Europe, soon to be operationalized - SEEBRIG.

  • Romania hopes to use this position to work with partners towards greater coherence and complementarity among regional initiatives.

  • At the same time, we are working on follow-up to SEECAP - The South East Europe Common Assessment Paper on regional security challenges and opportunities. The document is mentioned in the papers which we shall endorse today as "one of the main achievements in regional cooperation in South-Eastern Europe".

  • Romania's economy is on the up-turn. This gives us additional ability to increase our concrete contributions to the stability of the region. Our troop contributions to Bosnia and Kosovo have already tripled. We shall continue to increase our troop deployment capability and their sustainability in the field.

  • For Romania, 2002 is, above all, the year of NATO's new enlargement. We are continuing and accelerating reforms. Our eyes are set on Prague as well as on preparing for a smooth integration, when we are invited, into the Alliance's mechanisms and structures.

  • Yesterday's NAC ministerial adopted important decisions. The V-10 countries have already endorsed NATO's response to terrorism, statement adopted at the NAC meeting.

  • Romania expresses full support for NAC's conclusions and particularly welcomes NATO's renewed commitment for a meaningful enlargement in Prague, in our historic search for a Europe whole and free, as a natural process of reunification of Europe.

  • A successful enlargement would be one that is geographically balanced, in tune with the continent's security needs, and robust. It will make the Alliance stronger, more cohesive and more effective.

  • The NAC ministerial opens new avenues for strategic thinking and practical cooperation especially with regard to NATO-Russia cooperation. Romania too is already proceeding along the path of increased cooperation with Russia. Building a strong partnership with Russia, while enlarging and adapting our Alliance, will be a major and challenging task for the Prague Summit.

  • Acting on a Romanian initiative, the V-10 countries plan to promote a common vision on the role of the EAPC after Prague. We believe it is our duty to inspire the debate on the future of the EAPC.

  • At the same time, relations with Ukraine, the Caucuses and Central Asia should be upgraded in practical terms. In the framework of the OSCE Romania has proposed a "Partnership for Modernity" with Central Asian countries. They proved to be valuable allies in our common fight against terrorism. Now we have a historic opportunity and a moral, political and strategic duty to assist them in building modern, prosperous and more democratic societies.

  • In closing, I shall revert to South-Eastern Europe. As Chair in Office of the OSCE, I had personally witnessed and participated in an extraordinary tripartite cooperation among NATO, EU and the OSCE. It has proved successful in preventing conflict in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. It is a must for our efforts to build stability in the Western Balkans. It may become the most appropriate recipe in other areas.

  • We should all work on making this cooperation increasingly effective.
    We all have a great responsibility to keep pace with ongoing change in our security environment, to provoke change when it is needed and to foresee the new profile of cooperation in the Euro-Atlantic area for years to come. It is a challenging task. Romania is fully committed to working with NATO and EAPC member states to fulfill our responsibilities of historic proportions.

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