Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic
H.E. Mr. Eduard Kukan
at the EAPC Foreign Ministers Meeting
Dear Secretary General, Dear Colleagues,
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the creation of the North Atlantic
Cooperation Council (NACC), which was succeeded by the Euro-Atlantic Partnership
Council in May 1997. NACC was created on the debris of the Cold War at
the time when euphoria over newly found freedom was mixed with concerns
connected with uncertainty about the future. At the time when the Soviet
Union was falling to pieces, former foes created a forum within the North
Atlantic Alliance for conducting a dialogue on security policy with the
aim to prevent chaos and instability after the dissolution of the Soviet
Over the years, this cooperation has proved its value on many occasions.
It created the basis for mutual trust, which is a necessary prerequisite
for joint action in addressing crises and conflicts in the Euro-Atlantic
area. Thanks to the EAPC, we are now better equipped for dealing with
new challenges of the 21st century, we are more flexible, more open. Slovakia
is an active participant of NATO led peace operations in the Balkans (KFOR
and SFOR). It contributes to the activities of the EAPC and will continue
to do so also after its entry into the Alliance.
For the aspiring countries, the Membership Action Plan is not only a
tool for developing their military capabilities. It is a programme for
comprehensive transformation of the entire system, contributing to strengthening
our security and our ability to respond to new threats in every respect.
It opens up the road towards expansion of the Alliance, thus representing
a decisive instrument for strengthening the stability of the Euro-Atlantic
area as a whole. Also thanks to MAP the Slovak Republic is prepared to
face the threat of terrorism in a more effective and flexible manner.
The events of September 11 came as a great shock for the international
community. The strongest superpower in the world proved to be equally
vulnerable as any other country. Appalling and barbaric terrorist attacks
on targets in the United States clearly showed the world what is the biggest
threat of this century. Terrorism, which in some quarters of the
globe had been discussed only as a hypothetical threat and was
mentioned in the predictions of political scientists, showed its true
face with a vengeance and took the lives of thousands of innocent victims.
It was not only due to the media coverage that we all felt as if we were
all inside the World Trade Center. The reality exceeded by far even our
worst nightmares, and we came to realise that we are facing an enemy who
threatens the most basic values of our civilisation.
The fight against terrorism is calling and will call for concrete actions
and maybe sacrifices. It will take a long struggle, the struggle we all
will have to engage in. We all have an opportunity to prove today that
we know how to defend actively freedom, democracy and lives of our citizens.
The only effective strategy is one employing a multidimensional approach,
because reliance on military means alone is clearly not sufficient. It
is necessary to mobilise all the resources political, economic,
intelligence as well as military for, only in this way, can we
counter the enemy whose face we do not know, yet who lives in our midst.
Coordinated international cooperation is the only possible answer to
the threat of terrorism. However, global fight against terrorism requires
also regional initiatives specifically taylored for individual regions.
As an example, one can mention the Action Plan of the Fight against Terrorism,
adopted by the presidents of the states of Central, Southern, and South-eastern
Europe on 6 November 2001 at the Warsaw conference.
Slovakia has joined the antiterrorist coalition: it opened its air space
for NATO aircraft within the framework of the operation Enduring Freedom,
and provides humanitarian assistance. We have acceded to the EU Action
Plan of the Fight against Terrorism, we verify procedures and mechanisms
of exporting arms and dual-use goods, conduct surveillance of suspicious
banking transactions and groups of drug smugglers that could be linked
to various international terrorist groups.
The phenomenon of terrorism in globalised world requires a thorough examination
of its causes. It is often fuelled by ethnic and religious intolerance,
which crosses national borders and continents. We must, therefore, take
a forward-looking approach and identify the risks even before they become
apparent, eliminate the causes of possible threats before it is too late.
Also in this area, investment into prevention is more effective than necessity
to deal with the consequences of conflicts, after they escalate.
The fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan is not the beginning of the end;
it is just the end of the beginning. The international community must
continuously be involved in the process of building more stable and democratic
Afghanistan, which will not fall back to the pre-Taliban situation where
different power factions and warlords fought one another for years in
a dragging civil war. May I repeat again that democracy and stability
of the country are the best prerequisites for prosperity, and prosperity
of the country is the most effective obstacle to terrorism.
The EAPC format is adequately representative for addressing this global
topic: the topic of the fight against terrorism should become one of the
priorities of this forum, with emphasis on the political and political-military
instruments of prevention. Improved relations between NATO and Russia,
bold stance of Central Asian governments, participation of EAPC countries
in the antiterrorist coalition, these are promising stepping stones for
an effective use of the EAPC as an important multilateral instrument to
address the new security challenges.
The new era ushered in by the events of September 11 has brought certain
changes. It has also enhanced an effective cooperation between the Alliance
and the Russian Federation, raising their mutual relations to a qualitatively
much higher level than ever before. This unprecedented cooperation leads
to overcoming, only partly as yet, but maybe finally in the near future,
the thinking of the Cold War era. The need to take action has led to a
partnership between the Alliance and Russia; it has led to the realisation
that, rather than representing a danger for Russia, NATO enlargement at
the time of common threat of terrorism could, through expanding the zone
of stability, strengthen security also on Russian borders.
We welcome intensive cooperation between the Alliance and Russia in the
fight against terrorism, in the control and dissemination of weapons of
mass destruction, and in the stabilisation of the situation in the Balkans.
In these and other areas, Russia is an important factor of success. Nevertheless,
I would like to stress the need to pay more attention to these issues
also within the EAPC framework, which also has the potential to make a
relevant contribution to addressing these problems. I would also like
to put into consideration the proposal to open possibility for EAPC countries
to associate with the decisions of the emerging format of the enhanced
NATO/Russia cooperation. |
It seems that the war in Afghanistan overshadows the Balkans in the attention
of the world media. However, ceasing to speak about a problem does not
make it disappear. This is why we continue to attach great significance
to stabilising the situation in western Balkans, where extremism and ethnic
intolerance are important sources of conflict. Thanks to tremendous efforts
of the international community, progress was made and the situation was
gradually brought under control and stabilised. Recent achievements include
the conduct and results of elections in Kosovo and the passage of all
constitutional amendments by the Macedonian Parliament.
Elections in Kosovo were successful, and no major problems were recorded.
The international community - NATO, the OSCE, the European Union, the
Council of Europe, together with people of Kosovo, should be given credit
for the fair and democratic course of elections. I am happy to inform
you that 137 election observers from Slovakia, present in the region under
the OSCE auspices, formed the second largest representation and their
experience greatly contributed to the successful conduct of elections.
Nevertheless, and it needs to be stressed, this was not an election about
independence for Kosovo the post-election development in the country
may in no case go against international agreements and UN Security Council
Resolution Nol244. It was an election about the democratisation of the
situation, and we do not want it to lead to creating new borders and hotbeds
We give our support to the operation Amber Fox, and welcome the general
amnesty, as well as the decision of the Macedonian Parliament to adopt
constitutional amendments in harmony with Ohrid Accord. We are, however,
still concerned about and sharply condemn violent acts of Albanian extremists
directed against the legitimate Macedonian government.
The developments after September 11 reaffirmed our conviction that we
must take a much more active and consistent stance in the face of new
security and political risks and their causes then before. The Euro-Atlantic
Partnership Council has clearly the potential to respond to this challenge
and to contribute to strengthening stability in the regions facing the
greatest risks. The Slovak Republic is ready to take an active part in
addressing this long-term task within the EAPC framework.
Thank you for your attention