Updated: 22-Nov-2002 NATO Speeches


22 Nov. 2002


by The President of The Republic of Macedonia
H.E. Boris Trajkovski

"The Euro-Atlantic Partnership and the Challenges of the 2lst Century"

Ladles and Gentlemen,

Allow me to congratulate to our host, the Government of the Czech Republic on the excellent organization of undoubtedly one of the most important summits in the NATO' s history.

The Republic of Macedonia is proud to be part of this historic Summit where the North Atlantic Alliance takes the decision with the far-sighed historical relevance as a clear sign of commitment of NATO's community of nations to integrate all democracies from central and southern parts of the continent and in such a way to overstep again the old historical and ideological dividing lines. It is beyond doubt that this big enlargement towards South Europe and the Balkan Peninsula will strengthen indigenous democratic forces and strongly support progressive-oriented people, which have to oppose, prevail and defeat nationalistic and extreme movements, which unfortunately still do exist in some comers of our societies.

New threats like terrorism and WMD , ethnical and religious extremism are enemies without faces and territories. They should be situated everywhere. The Republic of Macedonia is ready to participate In this transformation and to engage in sub-specialization in order to contribute to the overall strength of the Alliance. If the logic behind the NATO enlargement is to integrate the willing countries into the communities of shared values and common institutions which are protecting these values from the same threats, the Republic of Macedonia hopes that our past democratic record and our future commitments, will qualify us to be an irreplaceable part of the international coalitions against evil forces.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are aware that difficult times we went through in the past decade and especially in the last year prevented us from achieving all of the projected goals and standards and though significant achievements were undoubtfully made in different areas, all challenges were not fully met and we are going to deal with them immediately after Prague. In this context the conclusions agreed here are not disappointing , but on the contrary they are encouraging for all, especially for the aspiring countries .

The course of history in the last ten years unfortunately was not always favorable towards Macedonia, Nevertheless, we emerged from it without severely harming the multiethnic tolerance and democracy and co-existence of various ethnic and religious communities in the country.

Our achievement during last year's conflict was a unique one: we transformed the conflict into a political dialogue and resolved its negative consequences into the institutions of the system by political means. Despite the potentials of the conflict to expand and inflame the whole population; Instead, we managed to strengthen the democratic credentials of the country and to improve the rights of ethnic minorities in several areas. The role of the international community, especially of two NATO missions was crucial in stabilizing the security of the country and in stepping up the processes of democratic reforms.

In September we organized free and democratic parliamentary elections and a peaceful transition of power as a confirmation of the maturity and political culture of the people and visions of the state leadership. A week ago a census throughout the country was successfully conducted, respecting the highest possible standards and meeting all democratic and legal requirements .

The state leadership however stands before new challenges, but we are committed to deal with our internal challenges decisively, strongly encouraged by the phraseology used in the final Communique and attention given to the Republic of Macedonia on this Summit.

One element should be crucial in pursuing our vision: despite all hardships we passed through in our recent history, overwhelming majority of Macedonian citizens are continuously committed to tha core of Euro-Atlantic values and beliefs. The ordinary people in my country recognize very well the values, strength and professionalism of NATO soldiers. In 1993 Macedonian Parliament officially adopted the decision to join NATO and almost ten years later 78% of citizens, regardless of their ethnicity, are still in favor of the membership of the Alliance. This presents a very strong base for further enhancement of mutual partnership and trust.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The experience we have had is truly remarkable. Twelve months ago we still had our soldiers on the ground. Today, we manage to have a small unit in Afghanistan working hand in hand with our partners to ensure the freedom for the people in that country. The strength of the North Atlantic Alliance never consisted only in robust military power or number of weapons it possessed, but in dedication and commitment to the values of democracy. In such a way , the countries small in size can contribute immensely to the common cause. We aim at becoming a generator of stability and emerging as a center for regional security cooperation in the near future. We do believe that NATO will appreciate and support our efforts, along with our neighbors, to include the Balkans into Europe, without new dividing lines, but indeed whole and free, stable and safe.

Within the restructured Alliance with refocused priorities and new capabilities agreed, we would like to see also the integral approach with the defined obligations and visible timeframe for accession. The new vision for the Balkan region is necessary to be put in place. A vision which will give a different meaning to the words of Balkan and balkanization. With the seven countries invited on this Summit, am firm that now we are a big step closer to that vision.

We are grateful that the open door policy of NATO will stay as a basic principle in the years to come till the integration processes are completed. The last year conflict proved our role as a producer not a consumer of security in the region . So, in future enlargement processes we do not want to be privileged without reasons, but not to be forgotten on the same ground , as well.

In December we are going to have a new and restructured NATO mission in Macedonia which is projected to serve as a contribution towards achieving the self-sustainability of the country in a long term basis. The new NATO mission will not consist of the security component only the Alliance offered us a very important expert support for our military and security reforms in order to shorten the road towards membership. This is an additional proof that we are on the path of definite stabilization.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

The NATO decision to invite seven countries from the Vilnius 10 is a success for all member of the club. The importance of V-10 was proved since its inception in 2000 when all of us agreed to participate and to contribute in the creation of a specific culture of solidarity and mutual support towards the common aim. We do believe that the principle of solidarity as a basic pillar of the group will continue to function until the goal set up two years ago is completed which means all countries from the group to enter the Alliance.

At the very end, allow me to ask you to show understanding for our pro-Atlantic ambitions because our intentions and commitments in this regard are founded long ago and deeply rooted and serious. The RM needs full membership, not for political prestige but as a confirmation of democratic values and peace, supported by all citizens of my country.

Aware of the significance of EAPC as the world's largest and most effective permanent coalition which entered into its second decade of existence the RM is supportive and fully dedicated to the practical implementation of two important documents of this Summit:" Report of the comprehensive review of EAPS and PfP" and " Partnership action plan against terrorism".

We, the people of the Republic of Macedonia are convinced that through our model of functional multiethnic democracy, good neighborly relations and a long standing partnership with NATO we are acting actually for the whole time as a de-facto full fledged member of the Alliance. But, we are not going to stop: we will engage all democratic forces and potentials in society to strengthen our democracy further, to revive our economy and to build a professional and effective military under civilian control and to provide our place in the Euro-Atlantic community of nations, as soon as possible.

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