Updated: 02-Dec-2003 NATO Speeches


2 Dec. 2003

New Threats, new interoperability needs. Road Map for Istanbul

Speech by the Swedish Minister for Defence,
Mrs. Leni Bjorklund, at the meeting of EAPC in Defence Ministers Session

Mr Chairman, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen:

I would like to take this opportunity to share some of my ideas on a road map for Istanbul. Only seven months remain, but intensive work and a frank discussion today can take us far.

Since PfP's creation in 1994 the Partnership has evolved and contributed to positive changes in our security environment.

However, our societies continue to change and so must the Partnership. In Prague important decisions to adapt NATO were taken, and a comprehensive transformation was launched. The transformation is not only vital to Allies though, but also to Partners. Allies should seek Partners participation in all aspects of this process, which are not related to "NATO's Article 5" or "Collective Defence". Partners should be involved, not for altruistic reasons, but because there is something to be gained for everyone.

Within the area of international crisis management, Partners can add and assist in the process of transformation. If Partners are excluded, we will not be able to maintain our ability to carry out joint crisis management operations.

One way to achieve this could be a further integration of Partner officers in the NATO structure, as, building on NATO's suggested review of the PSE concept, was recently suggested by Finland and Sweden.

Another positive step already taken, is the recent decision by NATO to open up more advanced exercises for Partner participation.

A driving force behind NATO's transformation seems to be the NRF. We follow the work in the area with interest, and look forward to NATO's views on the modalities for Partners participation in the conceptual development and exercises alongside the NRF.

Closely linked to the NRF is the NBC Initiative launched in Prague. Our troops will all face the increased NBC threat when deployed together in joint peace support operations. Clearly, it makes no sense to exclude this area from our cooperation. Again, this is in the interest of partners and to obvious benefit of Allies.

It is also important that the relation between the European Union and NATO continues to develop. Much of the development work on crisis management within the EU could also benefit NATO/PfP and vice versa.

Let me end by stressing the importance Sweden attaches to civil emergency planning. Since the tragic events of September 11 much has beeo achieved. Our capacity to protect our civilian population against CBRN risks has increased. But more can and must be done. I recommend you to read the progress report we note today and I stress that Sweden is willing to continue our active contribution to the work of the Senior Civil Emergency Planning Committee and to the exercises and operations headed by the EADRCC.

As a summary; much have been achieved, but there is still much to be done by Allies and Partners together to meet the new threats. Sweden, and I am sure, the rest of the Partners here present, looks forward to assist NATO with inputs and initiatives in the developments leading up to Istanbul and into the future.

Having benefited from the Partnership co-operation for ten years, Sweden is naturally prepared to share its experiences on how to adapt the armed forces to new international tasks. Also about the challenges encountered when executing major structural reforms of your Armed Forces.

Before handing back the word, though, I have one very important thing to do. That is to thank you Secretary General for

your engaged and inspiring leadership. I wish you all the best for the future.

Thank you very much for your attention to this the Swedish perspective on the future. I would be pleased to share views with you during this panel.

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