Updated: 02-Dec-2003 NATO Speeches


2 Dec. 2003

Partnership's Role in Defence Reform
Between Prague and Istanbul

Speech by the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Macedonia1, Dr. Vlado Buckovski at the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council meeting in Foreign Ministers' session with invitees

Mr. Chairman,
Excellencies, Dear colleagues:

Macedonia values the EAPC as a great success for NATO, a forum of dialogue and understanding, and an important mechanism for building closer cooperation and capabilitiesto address the challenges of the future.

Today, we are confronted with the fact that NATO is expanding and that
it is facing new threats and new missions. Despite the advantages and benefits from the MAP process, the Partnership remains indispensable to the countries that are yet to be invited to NATO membership. NATO Prague summit took serious steps to address the evolving needs of the Partners, particularly through the adoption of the Individual Partnership Action Plans. We feel that it is time to take this commitment further.

In order to sustain the development of capabilities and adapt to the new missions, EAPC must ensure that, within the framework of national needs it gets a clearer, more focused structure and functions in the area of defense reform. NATO's current defense reform priorities administered through the means of Partnership for Peace and the Individual Partnership Action Plans, are focused in a broad effort across states of the Former Soviet Union. With the next stage of enlargement upon us, there is a need for greater regional differentiation so that EAPC could concentrate its priorities acd scarce resources to help countries ready to make a genuine and serious commitment to defense reforms. This will require a move towards a differentiated relationship with subgroups of partners along functional and geographic lines.

Macedonia1 has a unique experience of what NATO can offer on a broader defense reform basis. As NATO tactical operations and presence in Macedonia1 reduced, we identified the potenttal benefits of building a deeper relationship with NATO through an advisory presence that is embedded in the Macedonian1 defense sector.

The NATO Advisory Team in Macedonia1 has been an unqualified
success; it has also been the example in policing reform that the EU is attempting to follow. We believe that there are merits of NATO employing teams with the right expertise across the regions of the Partnership to promote and sustain defense reform and to act as a conduit for new ideas.

Currently, our defense sector is going through the critical motions of the
Strategic Defense Review, a crucial step, which is due to set Macedonia's1 long-term defense goals and structures. It is evident that we face common defense reform issues with other EAPC members - personnel downsizing, retraining and resettlement, property divestment, border security etc. We feel that there is a need for a more focused output in these areas. EAPC action plans could develop clearly defined goals, review systems and feedback procedures tailored for each regional group.

In particular, we think the Partnership can do more to unify its approach to the Balkans. This will encourage greater regional cooperation on issues of common concern and enable the partners in the region to meet NATO tasks jointly. We believe that the EAPC needs to develop a Partnership Action Plan that would build on the progress and initiatives already made in this direction - the SEE Group and Adriatic Group.

A focused and unified approach like that will give impetus to the unprecedented progress in the regional security and defense cooperation we experienced in the past year. In particular, it could focus on:

(1) Stimulating defense interdependence through burden sharing and capability specialization across the region;
(2) Improving information sharing and situational awareness, and encouraging mutual support in areas of defense and general emergency planning;
(3) Developing PfP regional training centers into centers for specialized training focused on capabilities relevant for the new missions and threats.

Thank you.

  1. Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.

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