Updated: 26-Mar-2003 NATO Speeches


26 March 2003


by H.E. Mr. Solomon Passy
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria
NAC Meeting for the Signature of the Accession Protocols

Dear Secretary General,
Dear Colleagues,

I am particularly pleased to be here today at this remarkable meeting. The signature of the Accession Protocols is yet another landmark in our preparation process for NATO membership.

Regretfully, the skies of international relations are now clouded by the war in Iraq caused by the irresponsible policies of Saddam Hussein's regime and his flagrant violations of a number of the UN Security Council resolutions. My Government did its utmost to contribute to the peaceful option and is deeply grieved by its failure. We are hopeful that the use of force will end soon and will result in a free, prosperous and democratic future of Iraq and its people. We are also fully confident that the democratic Euro-Atlantic community will overcome the difficulties and NATO and the EU will emerge from the current situation more unified and stronger than ever. NATO enlargement shall definitely play a key role in that.

With the completion of the accession talks and pledge to continue the reform steps in our Timetable for reforms we entered a new phase. At this stage we commit ourselves to undertake better tailored measures targeted at further improving Bulgaria's position as a future Ally, capable to render effective political, strategic and military contributions.

I would like to express my genuine gratitude to the Alliance, all Member States and personally to the Secretary General Lord Robertson, for their strong commitment to the enlargement process and for the valuable support and expertise they have provided to us in our preparation efforts.

I reiterate the commitment already made during the accession talks to the task of taking the obligations, stemming from the future membership in the Alliance. Bulgaria will remain committed to its responsible foreign policy and its role of promoter of stability, security and good neighborliness in South East Europe.

Although we took the invitation issued to Bulgaria in Prague as an acknowledgement for the progress Bulgaria has achieved so far we are fully aware that there is still a lot to be done on our way to NATO membership. When preparing our Timetable for Reforms, we have considered carefully all the areas where further progress is needed during the accession process and beyond. We set our reform priorities with the aim to better address existing shortcomings and to implement relevant steps to overcome them.

strengthening border controls are among the highest priorities in our reform agenda. The accent will be put on the implementation of the existing legislative framework and its further improvement in order to meet the most advanced standards.

I would like to stress yet another strong commitment of the Bulgarian Government - to step up our work on security related issues. Let me assure you that we are firmly resolved to undertake all needed measures in order to meet the standards with regard to the protection of classified information and strengthening the responsible institutions.

Bulgaria is strongly resolved to continue to ensure the conduct of a responsible national policy with regard to transfers of arms and dual-use goods to particular "sensitive" states and regions. Bulgaria will remain firmly committed to the strict implementation of the export control legislation, thus ruling out any possibility for its infringement. Our commitment is substantiated by undertaking practical measures aimed at tightening the control over trade in arms and improving its enforcement.

We are determined to strengthen the efficiency of the special anti-corruption units in order to bring practical results in the fight against corruption. Special attention will be paid to the reform of the judiciary, which is one of the key tasks in the process of strengthening of the democratic institutions. Judicial reform will hinge upon the implementation of three main objectives: ensuring the accountability of the judicial system, improving the transparency of the judicial activities and enhancing their efficiency. To accomplish these aims a number of concrete measures are envisaged under the updated Strategy for Reform of the Judiciary System and the Action Plan for its implementation.

The Bulgarian model of interethnic and religious tolerance proved its stability during the last century. The integration of the Roma minority means upgrading their educational level, professional skills and living conditions. To realize this objective we will continue to fund and run result-oriented projects in the relevant areas.

We are committed to complete the reform of the armed forces with the aim to achieve full compatibility with the NATO standards. The Strategic Defense Review we have already started will provide us with a clear long-term vision an<jl adequate force plans for the Bulgarian armed forces. The aim is to build cost-effective, efficient, relevant and affordable national defense, at the same time providing for reliable and meaningful contribution to the Alliance. The military reform is backed by a steadily high level of defense budget of above 2,6% of GDP, sufficient to support the restructuring and moderniization.

In conclusion I would like to point out one more important fact - the strong consensus reached among all state institutions - the Parliament, the Government and the Presidency -upon Bulgaria's pledge to complete the reforms required for its future NATO membership and for consolidating its position as a reliable future Ally.

Thank you for your attention.

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