Updated: 22-Nov-2002 NATO Speeches


22 Nov. 2002


by Swiss Federal Councillor, Joseph Deiss,
Head of Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Secretary General.
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me share with you Switzerland's great satisfaction to be present here in Prague tor this truly extraordinary moment. We are all witnessing an important boost to democracy, stability and security in Europe. NATO's extensive and flexible partnership outreach has allowed the smooth start to another important step in the enlargement process. 1 would like to congratulate those Partners who have been invited to join NATO.

A chain is as strong as its weakest link. Promoting security and stability therefore has to continue in order to build a strong security community based on democracy, the rule of law and human rights. EAPC and the Partnership for Peace are essential factors in forging this chain and they keep us moving along on this trail.

Switzerland is committed to further developing this co-operative approach. Swiss neutrality is incompatible with NATO membership. And Switzerland has no intention to give up its neutrality. But this does not prevent us from addressing present and future security challenges. Therefore Partnership for Peace and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council are important instruments of our security policy.

Allow me to stress those points that we consider to be the key elements of the future Partnership:

Firstly, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership should be further strengthened.

EAPC and PfP have been crucial to the success we acclaim today. We can build on a solid base of experience and existing tools. We will have to further develop the Partnership and afford it the necessary resources. NATO enlargement must go together with an enhanced Partnership, in the interest of both. In this respect, we welcome the strong support and the upgrading afforded to the EAPC and PfP by the Prague NATO Summit Declaration.

It will be very important to prioritise those fields of co-operation that correspond to partners' concrete interests. Working towards interoperability in peace support operations will remain the backbone for us. We intend to build increasingly on PfP in our military planning and training, and in our ongoing defence reform.

Secondly, we would like to promote a Partnership in action.

The Partnership Action Plan Against Terrorism is a comprehensive initiative, addressing measures to prevent and combat terrorism, as well as consequence management. The Plan follows a cross-cutting approach, and brings civilian and military activities together. The principles of inclusiveness and self-differentiation are key factors for success. We are committed to implementing the Plan. In this respect we may announce that we are already looking forward to organising a workshop on bioterrorism together with the United States during the first half of next year. This event might serve as a kick off for further projects on this topic.

Indeed, the importance of the Partnership lies in its focus on practical measures. Let me stress here the Importance we attach to the civil emergency planning activities. The possibility to support civil disaster relief efforts by military means outside the Article V context could and should be pursued even more actively, and necessary planning steps should be brought to a more concrete level. We also consider the Partnership as an ideal framework for promoting respect for international humanitarian law and we will continue our involvement here. Finally, we also believe that the Partnership could benefit from even closer co-operation with the UN and the OSCE in different practical fields such as small arms and security sector reform.

Thirdly, we see the need to further reflect on the Partnership's role in addressing new threats to security.

New security threats are blurring the distinction between defence policy and domestic security policy. Within the Partnership we have started to develop ideas on security sector reform, which could allow us to further examine non-military risks and the interaction between different security actors. The Partnership offers the opportunity to facilitate practical co-operation between all relevant security actors, with the aim of seeking rapid responses to new threats and challenges.

There is a tendency for EAPC member states to regard accession to NATO as their ultimate objective and Partnership as the means to achieving it Switzerland hopes, however, that as NATO enlargement progresses, its patterns for co-operation will also widen, thereby guaranteeing long-term relevance for the Partnership as a cornerstone of Euro-Atlantic security co-operation. A special effort must be made to reach out to very diverse regional groups. Practical experience acquired over recent years will increasingly enable us to tailor our approach to specific regions and to specific threats.

Mr. Secretary General,

Let me conclude:

Flexibility, political will. solidarity, and the principle of indivisible security are the ingredients of success for the promotion of stability and peace within as well as outside the Euro-Atlantic Area. It's up to us to make them work!

Thank you for your attention.

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