Updated: 13-Feb-2004 NATO Speeches


11 Feb. 2004

Welcoming remarks

by NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer at the opening of the North Atlantic Council on the occasion of the visit by Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark

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It is a great honour for me to welcome to this meeting of the North Atlantic Council Crown Prince FREDERIK of Denmark. Prince Frederik has come to our meeting together with Defence Minister JENSBY of Denmark, whom I would also like to welcome on behalf of the Council, and in my own name.

Your Royal Highness,

Before coming to this Council room we had a bilateral meeting in my office, and let me just reiterate before this Council how impressed I was with your knowledge about NATO. You are a man with an impressive record of political, diplomatic and military training. Training that will not only stand you in good stead as the future King of Denmark, but that will also give you a good grasp of the issues on our Council agenda today.

Our agenda this morning aptly reflects the variety of complex issues NATO is dealing with at the moment -- from Afghanistan to Iraq, and from the threat of terrorism to NATO enlargement.

All these are issues in which your country, Your Royal Highness, not only takes a keen interest, but also plays an active role. They are issues on which we benefit from Denmark’s strong political support and practical engagement. Issues on which we value and respect the views that your Government’s representatives – and notably Ambassador Poulsen-Hansen -- bring to our debate in this house.

A founding member of the North Atlantic Alliance, Denmark has always been a staunch and active member of NATO. It is a tradition to be truly proud of. A tradition we are confident will be upheld in the future.

Your Royal Highness,

These last few years the NATO Alliance has shed its “Euro-centric” focus. We have gone not just “out-of-area”, but even “out-of-continent”.

You, Your Royal Highness, have done the same thing. You have gone literally to the other end of this world to find your future partner. I am sure I speak on behalf of all the members of the Council -- and the rest of the NATO community -- when I wish you and your future wife a wonderful wedding day this coming May, and all the very best for the future.

Thank you most sincerely for your interest in NATO, and for your attendance here today.

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