Updated: 14-May-2002 NATO Speeches

7 Dec. 2001


by H. E. Mr Anders Oljelund
Ambassador of Sweden to NATO
at the EAPC Foreign Ministers Meeting

Mr Secretary General, Ministers,

Only six months have passed since we met in Budapest. Yet, today we meet under fundamentally different circumstances.

We have long talked about future threats and security risks. The horrific terrorist attacks on 11 September were a frightful confirmation of the gravity of those risks.

One obvious conclusion is that we are all exposed to the new threats such as terrorism. Another, that we can only deal with them together. This is, I think, the major lesson learned from our recent experience. All governments and all our organisations have a role to play in that effort.

So far, our actions conform to these conclusions. Rather than dividing us, which surely must have been the objective of the terrorists, the 11 September made us rise to the challenge, resolutely agreeing to engage in a global struggle against terrorism.

Immediately after the attacks, we strongly expressed our solidarity with the people of the United States and pledged to undertake all efforts to combat the scourge of terrorism. We recognized that it was an attack on our common values. Our statement was an important, unanimous stance and an early contribution to the building of a global coalition.

We welcome the declaration made yesterday by NATO foreign ministers. The spirit of that declaration is that security is broad and indivisible. Key developments are now underway which together form parts of the same endeavour: the new relationship that is taking shape between NATO and Russia; the important role of EAPC with its broad membership; the future enlargement of NATO. We look forward to furthering the partnership between NATO and EU and to build on the practical cooperation that has developed in the field. All those processes have the potential of enhancing our ability to deal with new security challenges and of increasing the safety of all of us, individually and collectively.

This is the context in which Sweden looks upon developments in its own vicinity. It is beneficial to the security of the Baltic Sea Region that our neighbours Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania can fulfil their security policy objectives.

Mr Secretary General,

It is now time to address practical ways of combatting terrorism. Several actors have key roles in this effort. The EAPC could and should be one of those.

Together with Finland, Sweden presented ideas on how to develop the role of the EAPC in this field. We have been very gratified by the positive reactions to these proposals, both from NATO members and Partner countries, indicating a broad wish to constructively engage die EAPC. The EAPC Action Plan, which we endorse today, reflect several promising avenues for increased cooperation relating to the international fight against terrorism.

Sweden will make its contribution to turn suggestions into action. An important starting-point will be the seminar, which Poland graciously has offered to host in February.

We also appreciate the ambition by NATO to involve and inform Partner countries of the measures undertaken by Allies following on the 11 September, a conduct very much in the spirit of the political-military framework. So was the early involvement of Partners in the six-month reviews of SFOR and KFOR, a practice we hope sets a precedent for the future.

Enhancing EAPC's role in terrorism is important also in the context of the future of EAPC as such. What good is EAPC if we fail to make one of the dominant security policy themes an integral part of our work? Indeed, all security policy issues of common concern to the Euro-Atlantic community, regional or not, are legitimate questions to raise in this forum.

Next year's NATO/EAPC Summit in Prague will have to stake out the future direction in which we should be heading. We must now start to reflect on this, taking into account other important developments, such as the anticipated enlargement of NATO. We must dare to be bold and innovative. Indeed, both the PfP and EAPC were bold, innovative and forward-looking initiatives, which at that time played a key role in our adapting to the new security environment of the 1990s. An equal degree of visionary thinking is called for today.

Sweden is looking forward to take active part in the comprehensive review of the PfP cooperation which will be initiated early next year. We need to build on the important progress made since the Washington Summit, but we should also be prepared to move beyond those initiatives.

Thank You

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