Updated: 28-May-2004 NATO Speeches


24 May 2004

Point de presse

by NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy and Ambassador Declan Kelleher, PSC Chairman.

High resolution photos
Audio file of the speech .MP3/4357Kb

MODERATOR: Good afternoon. We'll have three brief opening statements and then we'll take questions from the floor. Secretary General.

JAAP DE HOOP SCHEFFER (NATO SECRETARY GENERAL): Sometimes it's an advantage or a disadvantage that NATO is not concerned with majority voting because what's going on in another side of this town of course is perhaps as interesting and as sexy as the NAC/PSC meeting was this morning.

Let me say we had a very fruitful meeting I think, between the NATO Council and the Political and Security Committee in the presence of the Prime Minister of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mr. Terzic. I think it was fruitful and interesting, the Prime Minister briefed us on issues like defence reform and other important reforms and endeavours the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina is going through. He was accompanied, by the way the Prime Minister, by the first state level Defence Minister Radovanovic, whom as you know briefed the North Atlantic Council two weeks ago.

I think it was fruitful, certainly also as far as NATO is concerned in the run-up to the Istanbul Summit. I may add that there was a fruitful discussion from the European Union and from the NATO side. There was a brief exchange of opinions on the western Balkans, more in general, so it was fruitful, it was useful and it was good that Prime Minister Terzic personally came. You might know that the North Atlantic Council, the Permanent Representatives, will visit Sarajevo this coming Friday. I'll be there on Friday as well so we can take up some points there in Sarajevo. But it was, I think, a useful, fruitful, and successful meeting.

MODERATOR: High Representative.

JAVIER SOLANA: I have very little to add to what the Secretary has just said. I think what is most significant of the meeting of today, is that in going towards the transfer from SFOR to EUFOR. The fact that we have met between NATO and the European Union in several occasions but this is the first time that we meet collectively together with the leaders of Bosnia-Herzegovina; we have had meetings with the leaders of Bosnia-Herzegovina, of course, regularly but to have this triangular meeting today at a moment in which the date of doing the transfer of power, of authority, from SFOR to EUFOR is getting closer, it was a good opportunity.

Let me say that from the point of view of what we have listed today publicly from the Prime Minister, from the Minister of Defence, I have to say that I was very impressed by the amount of work that has been done in Bosnia-Herzegovina by this government in a rather short period of time. As you know they have been in office for 17 months, and a lot of important things--of reforms, and defence--but also reforms of the economic side which are very important for the European Union have taken place. So we are pleased to see that the meeting of today, collectively, the authorities of Bosnia, NATO, the European Union have had the opportunity to talk about the issues which are of great importance in particular for Bosnia-Herzegovina, for its citizens, but also that we--NATO and the European Union-- we can cooperate in a very important matter. Thank you.

MODERATOR: Ambassador Kelleher.

AMBASSADOR DECLAN KELLEHER: Thank you. I would agree both with the NATO Secretary General and the High Representative. Our discussions this morning were fruitful, they were productive and as has been said we had the opportunity not only for NATO and the EU but also the authorities in Bosnia-Herzegovina to join in a constructive discussion.

The plans for the EU-led force to follow on from NATO-led SFOR should NATO take the decision in Istanbul are firmly on track and I think today's meeting demonstrated once again the healthy relationship between the EU and NATO and the very focused approach that both organisations have to advancing the agenda in supporting Bosnia-Herzegovina. Thank you.

DE HOOP SCHEFFER: May I add one thing which I forgot to mention in my first introduction and that is that the delegations of the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom, of NATO and the EU have presented an informal paper, a non-paper on the future of NATO-EU relations. I think very useful in.... as Ambassador Kelleher just said, in making the relationship even more mature than it is at the moment so I think we can commend and thank those three delegations for presenting this paper.

MODERATOR: We have time for a few questions.

Q: Question for the Secretary General or High Representative, I was just wondering, apparently there will not be in Istanbul a NATO-EU Summit as such, could you tell us why, if the relationship is so healthy as you are saying?

SOLANA: It is for me the question? I have... I don't know of any decision formally taken. I mean the meetings in Istanbul are not going to last for several days. It's not going to be a seven-week event, it has to be short, it has to be focused and it has... I don't know if at the end that will be the final decision.

As you know we are going to have a meeting with the European Union and with the U.S. in a few days around those dates also. It's not a question of having meetings for the sake of having meetings. If it's something to be solved we will have the meeting, if there is nothing to be solved we defer to... it would not have be necessary to have the meeting. But don't dramatize that, it doesn't mean anything if there's a meeting or non-meeting about the depth of the relationship between the two organisations. It should not be measured by the number of meetings.

DE HOOP SCHEFFER: I can echo that, what the High Representative just said. I mean, if it will be it will be. I mean we have not finalized the decision-making process. If not, I mean, the High Representative and I will not go and sit in a corner weeping because the relationship between NATO and EU stops when there is no contact in Istanbul but I can for the rest echo what Javier Solana just said.

Q: Secretary General, given the progress you've mentioned on defence reform in Bosnia-Herzegovina, do you think that they will be ready to join.... to be invited to join Partnership for Peace in Istanbul?

DE HOOP SCHEFFER: Again, here we are in the process of preparing the Istanbul Summit. You know it was not mentioned yet that for PfP one of the very important conditionalities of course is full cooperation with the ICTY, with the Tribunal in The Hague, which will I think apart from let's say commending and applauding the defence reforms will be the important yardstick.

So at the moment it's difficult to predict but the, let's say as I see it at this moment, the odds are not in favour to have a decision at Istanbul yet.

Q: Mr. Secretary General, I wanted to know whether you already have a date for your planned visit to Spain and what contributions you expect from Spain to the mission in Afghanistan?

DE HOOP SCHEFFER: I think I have a date, I mean a date with the Spanish government. I do not know now when exactly it will be but it's a very of short notice, and may I say, but that's not specifically for Spain, but for all Allies that of course in preparation of the Istanbul Summit and according to the ambitions the Alliance has in Afghanistan, a Spanish contribution among other contributions will be very important indeed.

MODERATOR: Do we have time for one or two more?

Q: Questions for Mr. Solana and also Mr. Scheffer if I may. Yesterday, one of the Albanian leaders from Kosovo said that the Ohrid Agreement could be good morale for Kosovo in the effort to resolve the relations between Albania and other ethnic society and the other specific question for Mr. Solana is that one of the leader for the Presidential election in Serbia, Mr. Nikolic from the Radical Party, said that he has support of the European Union and that if he becomes the President of Serbia that foreign investment will come to Serbia, thank you.

SOLANA: As far as the third question is concerned, I think we have not to think that the translation of the Agreement that was necessary at a given moment of time for fYROM is going to be applicable for everybody. I don't think that would be a good approach. It may have or maybe that some part of an Agreement can be useful for other Agreements. As you know, the idea the whole idea of those Agreements is more or less the same: to try to stabilize the region. But the mechanism, the specific items may not be the same, as you know very well, they are not the same as you know very well.

So therefore I wouldn't go that far in saying that the Ohrid Agreement should be the blueprint for other Agreements in the region in particular for the (inaudible).
The second, I... if the results of the election for the Presidential elections in Serbia are the ones you have imagined, I would have to tell you that I disagree very much with whoever has said what you have said. It would not be supported by the European Union and I don't think honestly that could be good news for the world investors to invest in Serbia.

MODERATOR: Thank you, there is time for two quick questions here.

Q: For the Secretary General, talking about Afghanistan. According to the Financial Times, NATO is launching an internal review to find out why it hasn't been able to provide enough basic equipment for Afghanistan. If this is correct, how serious are these shortfalls and do they bring into danger the objectives of NATO in Afghanistan?

DE HOOP SCHEFFER: No they do not. We have not reached the end of the force generation process but NATO will fulfil its commitments and will live up to expectations so that in that respect the element of the FT... Financial Times article is not correct. What is correct is that it's of course important in the transformation process NATO is going through. It's one element of the transformation process that we have... that we have a good connect between our force planning system and our force generation system. It's by the way a subject I'll come back to in a speech I'll make in a few days, here in Brussels I think.

MODERATOR: That would be the RUSI speech in London.

DE HOOP SCHEFFER: That would be the?

MODERATOR: The RUSI speech in London.

DE HOOP SCHEFFER: That will be a speech in London, excuse me but...

SOLANA: He's going to invite us all.


DE HOOP SCHEFFER: I mean... and where am I without the European Union so, Javier you are invited.

SOLANA: All right. Thank you very much, the pressure to paint on the weekend is gone now.


MODERATOR: Last question.

Q: A question for Mr. Solana and Mr. Scheffer as well. After transition on the field in Bosnia, who will be in the end responsible for the chasing of war criminals, Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic?

SOLANA: Well everybody has a responsibility to do that. As you know very well, this responsibility of everybody who has presence in Bosnia-Herzegovina, whatever is the uniform, even if they don't have a uniform. Everybody.

DE HOOP SCHEFFER: But you know that the formal responsibility... formal responsibility lies with the authorities of course in Bosnia-Herzegovina, for the rest I can echo what Javier Solana just said.

Thank you.

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