|Updated: 02-Dec-2003||NATO Speeches|
2 Dec. 2003
by Mr. Günther PlatterDefence Minister of the Federal Republic of
Mr Secretary General,
Austria is closely linked with NATO's role in international crisis management, due to her own security interests, her close political relationship to NATO Member States, EAPC Partners and due to the strong context between EU and NATO.
With great pleasure I remember, Mr Secretary General, your visit to Vienna a few weeks ago.
On this occasion you emphasised the high value of a broad international participation in ISAF, taken as one example for NATO crisis management.
It is my intention to initiate a governmental decision in order send some staff officers to ISAF. Austria has also the intention to increase her participation in Kosovo.
Furthermore I can also inform you that the Central European Nations Co-operation for Peace Keeping (CENCOOP), has confirmed the intention of its Member States to offer a co-ordinated contribution to the Operation in Bosnia Herzegovina.
As Defence Minister of the country currently holding the presidency of CENCOOP I will inform NATO more in detail during the coming weeks.
After an interruption for a couple of years, Austria too will contribute troops in Bosnia in this framework.
Despite the new strategic situation and the resulting new geographical orientation of NATO I want to stress that the stabilisation and integration of Western Balkan States should remain a central task for NATO and especially for PfP.
Therefore Austria supports the strategy to bring this region, namely Serbia-Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegowina closer to Europe and welcomes a future enlargement of the Partnership for Peace in this region.
In a larger context the Mediterranean region gains importance concerning the security of Europe. Therefore the Mediterranean Dialogue of NATO as an important stability-tool should be further developed in close co-operation with the Barcelona-process of the European Union.
Austria is willing to contribute military forces towards an advanced partnership. Partners should also contribute forces able to meet the new demands and to co-operate with forces from NATO member states. The key word is interoperability.
Austria therefore uses the possibilities offered by its participation in the partnership and mainly sees OCC as the essential tool to provide interoperable forces for crisis management operations.
A further impulse to meet this goal could be made by opening the possibility for partners to co-operate in the framework of the NATO Response Force, particularly to prepare rapidly deployable forces.
Finally I want to take the opportunity to thank you Mr. Secretary General
for your engaged leadership. I wish you all the best for your future.