Updated: 28-Jun-2004 NATO Speeches

Istanbul, Turkey

28 June 2004

Meeting of the NATO-Russia Council

Opening Statement by NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer

NATO Istanbul Summit

Ministers, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. Dobriy Dyen’. Bonjour. And welcome to the NATO-Russia Council in Foreign Ministerial session.

Two years ago in Rome, NATO member states and Russia created this Council in order to work together – as equal partners – against contemporary threats we all share. We recognised that a robust and deepening NATO-Russia partnership is essential to the security, not just of the states represented around this table, but of the entire Euro﷓Atlantic area. Above all, we realised that far more unites than divides us.

In the first half of this year, we have made substantial progress in achieving a qualitatively new NATO-Russia partnership, founded on two essential pillars of frank, open political dialogue and pragmatic, result-oriented practical co-operation.

We have consulted on a broad range of issues of common concern, and will exchange views here today on the current situations in Afghanistan, the Balkans and Iraq.

We have continued to intensify our co-operation against the terrorist threat. The April 2004 Norfolk Conference has produced additional initiatives for concrete co-operation in this area. And I am pleased today to welcome Russia’s offer of support to Operation Active Endeavour, NATO’s naval mission in the Mediterranean that aims at deterring, defending, disrupting and protecting against terrorism.

We have made great strides toward achieving interoperable capabilities that will allow us increasingly to act together against common threats. Co-operation among our military forces has expanded dramatically. We have made progress toward interoperable theatre missile defence systems, and will mark another milestone in this area today. And we have enhanced our capability to co-operate in managing the consequences of terrorist attacks and natural disasters as highlighted in the succesful Kaliningrad 2004 exercise last week.

Les discussions que nous avons aujourd'hui sont une bonne occasion de dresser le bilan des progrès réalisés. Mais, plus important encore, elles nous permettent de regarder vers l'avenir et de fixer des priorités pour les prochains mois. Je voudrai en identifier deux. L'adhésion de la Russie à la Convention sur le statut des forces (SOFA) dans le cadre du Partenariat pour la paix débouchera sur des possibilités accrues d’entraînement conjoint et de coopération pratique. Et bien entendu, nous devrons continuer d'œuvrer à la résolution des questions liées au Traité FCE : le respect des engagements, pris ici à Istanbul il y a cinq ans et non encore remplis, d’un côté, et la ratification et entrée en vigueur du Traité adapté, de l’autre.

Après ces quelques observations liminaires, je demanderai aux membres de la presse de bien vouloir quitter la pièce afin que nous puissions ouvrir notre séance restreinte.


Go to Homepage Go to Index