Updated: 12-Oct-2004 NATO Speeches

Justus Lipsius,

27 Sept. 2004

Press point

with NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and the EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Mr. Javier Solana at the Justus Lipsius Building in Brussels

NATO-EU relations
Audio file .MP3/3322Kb

JAVIER SOLANA: …very good meeting between the North Atlantic Council and the Security Committee of the European Union. As you can imagine, as time gets closer to the transfer of authority in Bosnia, we have concentrated the whole of the meeting in how things are evolving for that transfer of authority.

I can tell you that everybody is very pleased in how things are moving, are moving at a great pace, and they're moving in the proper direction. We hope… we are sure, that we will have a very seamless transition from the NATO responsibility to the European Union's responsibilities.

I want to say once again that this important operation with NATO, it will have consequences beyond the security aspects. For us, European Union, this is a part, a very fundamental part of the relationship we want to construct deeper with the countries of the region, with the Balkans, and in particular with Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Therefore the message today that everything is in place, the dates are being met, the plans have been presented and approved by both organizations, and that we keep on talking with the leaders of Bosnia-Herzegovina together, the Secretary and myself, so that they can be sure that what we are trying to do is what we want to do, and that no doubt should be in the minds of anybody in Bosnia-Herzegovina that the will of the European Union is to keep on working on the same way that NATO has done for a long time, for ten years, in a very successful manner.

But not only, beyond that we will continue in an engagement with Bosnia-Herzegovina on the economic side, on the police... on other elements, that will contribute to the stabilization of the country and to see them coming closer to the institutions of the European Union.

JAAP DE HOOP SCHEFFER: Thank you. Thank you, Javier. Let me just echo what Javier Solana just said. This is a very important decision. It is the end of a very successful… very successful NATO operation: SFOR. It is a very important example of NATO-EU relationship, that this transition will be, as the keyword is, seamless and neat.

We're right on track. We're right on track. Of course the European Union does this having recourse to NATO assets. It's under the so-called Berlin Plus arrangement, as you know. What is important indeed at the public diplomacy side of it, as Javier Solana and myself already practice when we together paid a visit to Sarajevo before the summer break, that this… this is very, very important. It's an important operation for the European Union.

You know that at the same time NATO will stay, and has to stay, in Kosovo. So that's and NATO will keep a residual presence and a headquarters in Sarajevo as well. We are on track. It's important for NATO-EU relations. It's very important that the EU will take over this responsibility at the date necessary. Thank you very much.

SOLANA: Thank you very much. Any questions you have?

Q: Wasn't Transistria on the agenda of your discussions today?

SOLANA: No, it was not.

DE HOOP SCHEFFER: It was on my agenda last Friday when I was in Moldova, but it was not on the agenda today.


Q: Okay. Thank you.

SOLANA: We have been talking about that in New York also, but not today.

Q: Léon Bruno, Agence France Presse. I wanted to know… ask both of you… The US is now backing the idea of an international conference on Iraq and the reconstruction that could be held in October, maybe early November. What are your thoughts about this international conference? Would you favour it, the EU favours it, and NATO? And second, in what conditions do you think it could really be held?

SOLANA: It is not an issue that has been talked about in this meeting, so I… forget about it. The meeting's over. We talked about that… that question.
As you know, it is not the first time that a meeting of the government of Iraq with the neighbouring countries has taken place. In fact, I participated in the first one, which took place in Egypt. Now what is now we have being working on during this week in New York about the possibility of a meeting with Iraq and its neighbours at large, at large with the G8… G7, G8, and at large with the P5, the members of the Security Council, the European Union, the Organization of Islamic Countries, several other organizations that may be interested. But it will be with the government of Iraq.
Now, about the date, I cannot be sure. As you know, Ramadan is going to start sometime in October, and I don't know it would be the possibility to do it before Ramadan or after Ramadan. But yes, it is the will of everybody to have this type of meeting, with the hope that it will be a constructive and positive meeting.
But again, it's Iraq's neighbours plus the organizations I have mentioned, the G7 and the P5, the Organization of Islamic Countries, the European Union, et cetera.

Q: (inaudible)... news agency. Regarding Bosnia, some very important officials of Bosnia are insisting on the revision of Dayton Agreement. Do you think that it's a good idea? Thank you.

SOLANA: I don't think so.

Q: Yes, Antonia Rodriguez from the Spanish news agency Europa Press(?). On Iraq, don't you think… don't you think it will be a better idea to postpone the elections or limit the elections in some areas on Iraq? Thank you.

SOLANA: It seems to me that the intention should be to maintain the date of the elections.

Q: (inaudible) ...une question en même temps pour M. Solana et pour M. Scheffer. Dans le même thème là concernant la tenue de ce congrès international pour l'Irak, ce matin le ministre des Affaires étrangères français, M. Barnier, a omis encore une autre condition quant à la tenue de ce congrès. Il parle du retrait immédiat des forces internationales de l'Irak avant la tenue de ce congrès. Que pense l'Union européenne et l'OTAN?

SOLANA: Je ne peux pas faire de commentaires sur une déclaration que je ne connais pas. Je viens d'arriver de New York et les débats à New York ont été sur la possibilité d'avoir la réunion, ce n'est pas un congrès c'est la réunion, de l'avoir le plus tôt possible entre le gouvernement provisoire de l'Irak et comme je viens de dire les voisins... et puis les voisins, les membres permanents du Conseil de sécurité, l'Union européenne, les membres du G8... G7-G8. Donc c'est la structure dans lequel nous travaillons mais encore dans les... bien sûr peut-être la solution... la discussion continue centre route. Je ne crois pas... je crois que la discussion que la discussion sur les paramètres que je viens de vous faire part. Sur la date c'est difficile à ce moment-là de spécifier la date.

DE HOOP SCHEFFER: Même position. Il est impossible pour moi de faire un commentaire sur les choses que je suis pas informé, je n'ai pas entendu... écouté le ministre Barnier. L'idée d'une conférence n'a pas été discutée au sein de l'OTAN. C'est bien sûr la position que si les parties et les organisations concernées décident il y a une conférence, il y a une conférence. Si non, si non.

Je n'ai pas entendu des conditions et c'est pas discuté à l'OTAN.

SOLANA: Okay. Final question. Thank you very much.

Q: Yes, from the Norwegian News Agency. Mr. Solana…


Q: Would a third country, like Norway, which is a member of the NATO but not the EU, be able to participate in the new battle groups?

SOLANA: As you know, the question of battle groups, that is something we are still discussing. We will see how is the outcome. But if… if you are asking about the participation on the committee of contributors for the ALTHEA operation, I can tell you that we are going to find a formula that will be to the satisfaction of your country without a doubt.


SOLANA: Okay. Thank you very much.

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