Updated: 26-Mar-2003 NATO Speeches


26 March 2003


by Dr Dimitrij Rupel, Foreign Minister
of the Republic of Slovenia,
at the signature of the NATO Accession Protocols

It is my greatest privilege and honor to appear in front of you on this day, which undoubtedly marks a milestone for the future of the Slovenian people and Slovenian foreign policy. The invitation to join NATO and the signing of the Accession Protocols are historic events for Slovenia. Membership in NATO opens a new security perspective and responsibility for us. It provides an opportunity to create and plan our security together with the majority of other democratic countries from the Euro-Atlantic area. We are honored that nineteen member states decided to share their security efforts with Slovenia.

The citizens of Slovenia have recognized this historic opportunity for Slovenia to join the Atlantic Alliance. This recognition was verified by 66% support at the referendum last Sunday. The Government campaign played an important part in raising public support. A valuable contribution to the campaign was also made by the visits of the Secretary General Lord Robertson and high representatives of NATO countries who helped clarify the role and purpose of NATO to the Slovenian public.

Slovenia understands the invitation to NATO as recognition of its transformation, since it gained independence more than a decade ago, from a security consumer into a security producer. Slovenia has proven its role as a security producer by unreservedly supporting the operations and policy of the Alliance and by participating actively in NATO operations such as SFOR (Bosnia-Herzegovina) and KFOR (Kosovo). NATO membership will help Slovenia to strengthen its capacity as a security producer.

Slovenia will continue to work seriously on meeting the requirements to become a firm and reliable member of the Alliance. We shall continue our plans regarding the political, economic, defense, security and legal dimensions of our membership. The efforts to build up our defense structures, which will enable Slovenia to contribute to the overall strength of the Alliance, will be accelerated. Slovenia will develop those branches of the military that will be of use to the Alliance as well as its own national defense. After the successful conclusion of defense reforms Slovenia will be capable of participating in the whole spectrum of NATO operations.

The Strategy of the Alliance adopted at the last Summit in Prague represents an appropriate response to contemporary security challenges. Slovenia perceives NATO as an indispensable institution in a multi-layered concept of providing security in the contemporary world. The establishment of the NATO Response Forces and the idea of armed forces specialization are both a move in the right direction. Slovenia will do its best to support the implementation of the Prague Declaration. Slovenia has already, in accordance with its possibilities, contributed to the efforts of the international anti-terrorist coalition.

NATO should continue its open door policy. Every country in the area defined by the Washington Treaty should be eligible, when it fulfils the required criteria. This and the previous round of enlargement have successfully extended the area of stability into parts of Europe that throughout history generated considerable instability and insecurity for various reasons. As a future member Slovenia is willing and ready to assist all those countries that want to join the Alliance in their endeavors to fulfill the criteria.

As a country on the North Western edge of South Eastern Europe, Slovenia pays special attention to the stabilization process in that part of Europe, in which NATO has played a vital role in bringing stability and democracy. Slovenia is actively engaged in different areas, from participating in NATO-led forces to economic, humanitarian and political activities. Through the latter Slovenia endorses the integration of South Eastern European countries into Euro-Atlantic institutions. Only their full integration into these institutions will mark a successful end to the process of providing sustainable peace and stability in the region.

Slovenia is looking forward to closer cooperation with its allies in the near future. Slovenia’s engagement as an observer in NATO structures will no doubt have a positive influence on Slovenia’s readiness to be a reliable ally.

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