Updated: 22-Nov-2002 NATO Speeches


22 Nov. 2002


by the Head of the Delegation of the Slovak Republic, Rudolf Schuster at the Prague EAPC Summit

Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen.

our world and the values we share and cherish are being seriously tested and therefore, as the supreme representatives of 46 countries, we have today a historical responsibility to maintain stability and security in the Euro-Atlantic region. The civilized world looks to us in expectation of a clear and resolute stance that we need to take against the most dangerous threat that we are facing - the threat of terrorism. In its history of more than ten years, the Euro-Atlantic partnership has given good account of bringing former enemies together.

It helped to bridge the artificial division between East and West, eliminate the danger of a global conflict and even today it represents a tool instrumental to fighting terrorism. The reason for the success of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership project was that words were followed by deeds. Despite the success there is no time to rest and celebrate, as we were so cruelly reminded by the recent tragic events on Bali,. in Moscow and by the ever clearer and more present danger of the use of weapons of mass destruction. We must not allow that weapons of mass destruction be turned against our civilization and its principal pillars. We therefore welcome the Partnership Action Plan against Terrorism, which Slovakia will actively join.

However, we recommend to also take into consideration additional forms of activities for the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council to combat terrorism. EAPC meetings on the level of Interior Ministers or heads of intelligence agencies may prove beneficial.

In order to ensure that regard is had to the complexity of the challenge ahead of us, the agenda of such meetings should most certainly extend to issues, such as proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or cultivation the inter-cultural dialogue.

We met here today to assess the future development and the future of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership. Given the wide interest among partnership countries and the growing number and diversity of projects, it is more than appropriate to say that the partnership program is an attractive one.

By the same token, the projects should be more accommodating to individual regions as well as to the individual needs of the partnership countries. We feel that a strong benefit to security, conflict prevention and integration can be derived from supporting regional cooperation. The assets of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council are, among other things, its positive experience and engagement in strengthening stability in the Balkans and the fact that the countries of Central Asia and Southern Caucasus joined the world-wide counter-terrorism league.

In our view, it is the regional approach that makes the Euro-Atlantic partnership richer and stronger, because it provides answers to a particular type of challenges. The Slovak Republic will therefore continue to support the trend toward regionalization. By that same token, the Slovak Republic also supports forms of more intensive individual cooperation among member countries and partners. The effect sought by such cooperation is to introduce a feeling trust. cohesion, mutual help and readiness to act jointly, which contributes in a considerable manner to strengthening security and stability.

The Slovak Republic therefore advocates a more flexible partnership using the ,,19+n,, formula. Yesterday, the Slovak Republic was advanced the invitation to become NATO member, I would like to assure you that we see the trust given to us by the member countries as an obligation in relation to the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. Slovakia offers partners its experience with transformation processes, participation in NATO peace-keeping operations, regional cooperation and the reform of the armed forces. At the same time we will consider our active participation in the Trust Fund projects.

I am confident that the results of today's summit will create the right base for us to deal in a more appropriate manner with the our common security challenges and also to invigorate the shared Euro-Atlantic identity, which will be the best answer to the difficult security and political situation of the present day.

I thank you for your attention.

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