Updated: 19-Dec-2001 NATO Speeches

19 Dec. 2001

Opening remarks

by NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson
at the Meeting of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council
in Defence Ministers Session

Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

  • Welcome to this meeting of Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in Defence Ministers' Session.

  • The new flag behind me is the flag of the EAPC based on a winning design submitted by Janis Krievs from Latvia, and it will be increasingly used as a symbol of this forum.

  • Today we meet against the background of the appalling attacks against the United States on 11 September. The EAPC acted promptly following the attacks and on 12 September issued a powerful statement of condemnation and solidarity. In the face of this new threat, our Partnership has once again demonstrated its value. The EAPC is, and must continue to be, an essential pillar of the international coalition against terrorism.

  • This year we celebrate a decade of Partnership and Cooperation. Almost exactly 10 years ago, in this same room, NATO Foreign Ministers held their first official meeting with colleagues from Central and Eastern Europe. We have come a long way, and we have every reason to be proud of what we have achieved. EAPC and PfP are, by all accounts, the most successful programme of international security cooperation ever attempted.

  • Our co-operation spans a broad spectrum of activities. We cooperate in the NATO-led operations in the Balkans; we work together to increase interoperability and to reform our armed forces for today's and tomorrow's tasks; we promote regional co-operation; our programmes contribute to human security; and we act in harmony with other international organisations. The various reports before us are testimony to the breadth and the depth of our successful co-operation.

  • There are three important subjects on our today's agenda: improving co-operation and capabilities to address terrorism and other non-conventional threats to security; practical co-operation under Partnership for Peace; and approval of the PARP Ministerial Guidance 2001.

  • I look forward to a stimulating exchange of views.

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