Updated: 26-Mar-2003 NATO Speeches


26 March 2003


by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic
H.E. Mr. Eduard Kukan
at the extraordinary meeting of the North Atlantic Council

Mr. Secretary General, Excellencies,

In a relatively short time after the NATO Prague Summit I feel privileged and honoured to be present here and to represent my country in a moment of a historic achievement and satisfaction for Slovakia. This meeting of the North Atlantic Council is a moment of truth and fulfilled dream for all the seven prospective, as well as for the current, Allies in achieving a peaceful and prosperous Europe, Europe whole and free. NATO has never faced a challenge to enlarge by such a great number of nations. And it has never faced a challenge to undergo a massive internal transformation and adaptation that started at the Prague Summit. For us, the invitees, the successful transformation of the Alliance is another proof that the Alliance is highly appreciated by all and the values of the Alliance are considered to be the values of each Ally.

This robust enlargement of NATO seals the end of the Cold War division. Each of the invited countries has its own experience of that period of human rights suppression and totalitarian regimes. That time is over. Communism collapsed, and we return to the family of nations from which we have been, against our will, excluded from. Enlarged NATO will expand the zone of stability and security. We want to be an active and solid Ally, an Ally contributing to the security and stability in the transatlantic area. Based on our defence reform, we posses a capacity to contribute to NATO assets and we have a political will to use our military capabilities to meet new tasks facing NATO in a new security environment. Our participation in the fight against terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in Afghanistan or Iraq is a proof of our will, determination to shape the security in the world and our solidarity in addressing risks our Allies face.


During one of the first NAC+1 meetings with Slovakia, one of the Ambassadors compared the status of our preparedness to join NATO to a tango dancing, when you know the basic steps but the practice and skills are not yet there. Recalling this debate I would like to thank all those, who showed us how to dance a proper NATO tango during the Membership Action Plan process. I would like to commend all those who have been helping us with their personal dedication and high professionalism throughout the whole MAP process. In this respect, I would like to thank particularly the representatives of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland who unselfishly have been sharing with us their lessons learned from the process of the accession to the Alliance.

In my Letter of Intent, I stated my country’s intention to contribute to the security of all Allies. The core of this commitment lies in sharing the same values, a firm solidarity and enforcing the NAC decisions in the spirit of a good will. Slovakia fully understands and accepts all obligations stemming from these principles. On behalf of the Slovak Government I would like to reconfirm our strongest will and determination to pursue our long-term goals and to continue with necessary reforms.

I believe that the signing of the Accession Protocols will be followed by thorough discussions in the Parliaments of NATO member states and result in their early ratification. We understand well that during the ratification period our determination to accomplish self-imposed tasks will be scrutinized under watchful eyes of all 19 Allies. Parliaments in both, the current member states and in the invited countries, are facing another historic challenge of making a decision that will anchor the future of the continent and the most valuable transatlantic link. It is up to us all to make sure that this historic chance turns into success.

Thank you for your attention.

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