Updated: 22-Nov-2002 NATO Speeches


22 Nov. 2002


by Mr. Ion lliescu, President of Romania,
to the Summit Meeting of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council

Mr. Secretary-General,
Distinguished Heads of State and Government,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

We can state with good reason that, as a result of the decisions taken and their long-term consequences, yesterday's NAC Summit in Prague represents a historic moment for both the North-Atlantic Treaty Organization and for its partners.

The resolutions adopted by the North-Atlantic Council yesterday concern all of us. It is incumbent upon us to work together in order to implement them. The end of the Cold War was a positive event that brought about the disappearance of serious threats to peace and security worldwide. Unfortunately, we are now challenged with new types of security threats. Such a fact prompts us to consider how we can provide the peace and security that we need for our economic and social

Romania is among the seven countries invited yesterday to begin accession negotiation. We are proud that we will become members of this organization. We owe much of our successful candidature to the exemplary cooperation with the NATO member countries, both at bilateral level and within the Partnership for Peace framework. The establishment of the Partnership for Peace has been a generous initiative, which has proved useful and efficient. I

The Romanian Army, military and political decision-makers, and our civil society have learnt much in an extremely short time. We are determined to continue the reforms that we have begun, in order to reach the standards expected of a NATO ally.

We shall endeavor to strengthen democracy and the rule of law, enhance economic performance, make the army a professional body, and safeguard classified information. We will maintain close interest in constructive relations with our neighbors. We would like to preserve and consolidate our status of security providers in Central and South-East Europe.

Reform will continue within the Army, by reducing manpower, upgrading equipment, and setting higher standards for the employment and training of military and civilian staff. Resources allocated for defense will not fall bellow 2.3 percent of GDP in the next five fiscal years.

Distinguished Colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I believe that the Alliance enlargement process, which began in Madrid in 1997 and continues here in Prague, is beneficial not only for the new members, but also for the whole Organization, and all NATO partners- Standing united, we will be more prepared to tackle the new threats to peace and security, such as international terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction- The steps we take against such threats will serve not only to our own countries and peoples, but to the entire international community.

The resolutions that we have adopted here call on us, through the Council of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership and the Partnership for Peace, to pay special heed to the concerns of each and every partner.

As a NATO partner for nearly ten years, Romania is familiar with the interests and concerns of every partner country. We enjoy good bilateral relations with existing and future NATO partners. We, therefore, stand ready to become actively involved in the development of cooperation plans.

Romania wants to take a more active role in building up an area of stability and prosperity in Central-Southern Europe. Moreover, we hope to use our influence and good bilateral and regional ties to turn the Balkans into a region of peace and stability.

Romania's relations with our partners in the Caucasus - the real South-East Europe - and Central Asia are extremely valuable to us. Romania has built up healthy relationships with those countries, and we have mutually agreed to make use of every opportunity in order to extend our cooperation. Further assistance is needed for those countries to strengthen democracy, political pluralism, the observance of citizens' rights and liberties, the development of their civil societies.

The experiences that we have shared since the collapse of the Iron Curtain and the end of the Cold War have shown us once more the high importance of the values underlying the very existence of the North-Atlantic Treaty Organization.

NATO and its partner countries will play a significant role in providing peace and stability to the Euro-Atlantic community for a long time to come. Our mission is not an easy one. In order to cope with the new challenges, as they are now shaping out at the turn of the century, we need both strong political will and significant financial and military efforts. Our accomplishment requires solidarity and full engagement by the Organization's members. There is no hardship that cannot be overcome if we maintain confidence in ourselves and in the rectitude of our values.

Thank you for your attention.

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