Updated: 30-Oct-2006 NATO Speeches


19 Jan. 2005

Opening statement

by NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
at the Meeting of the Council
with the President of the Federal Republic of Germany,
H.E. Prof. Dr. Horst Koehler

19/01/2005 - NATO
Audio file of the opening statement (.MP3/1349kb)
19/01/2005 - NATO
High resolution photos
Good morning, bonjour, guten Morgen,

On behalf of the North Atlantic Council, allow me to extend a very warm welcome to President Koehler of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Mr. President, we very much appreciate you coming here. You are a very respected voice in the transatlantic debate, including on the importance of a Atlantic Alliance as a forum and cornerstone of that debate.

Mr. President, this year marks the 50th anniversary of your country’s membership in NATO. And perhaps no other NATO member’s history has been more closely intertwined with our NATO Alliance than the history of the Federal Republic of Germany. The security of your country was critically dependent on NATO, and NATO, in turn, was able to rely on Germany’s unflinching support. It was therefore more than fitting that, in 1990, a German NATO Secretary General, the late Manfred Woerner, was there to see the presence of a united Germany in our Alliance.

This close relationship between Germany and NATO continued after the end of the Cold War. NATO enlargement, strongly supported by Germany, became a key element in the consolidation of a Europe whole and free. Our ever-closer relationship with Russia, also strongly supported by Germany, consigned past antagonisms to history. With strong German support, NATO also undertook to bring peace and security to the Balkans.

Both Germany and NATO have thus come a long way. And the journey continues. Today, Germany is among the largest contributors in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan and led the initial PRT, and German ships are patrolling the Mediterranean in the framework of NATO’s anti﷓terrorist operations. All these efforts are commensurate with Germany’s important role in the Alliance and are widely appreciated.

Mr. President, you have made a strong appeal to the transatlantic community to overcome the differences of the recent past and focus on the future instead. NATO is playing a key role in this respect by fostering the transatlantic security consensus. The NATO Summit on 22 February, as a key part of President Bush’s visit to Europe after his inauguration, will be a powerful signal of this by showing that tangible results are the best expression of a solid transatlantic partnership.

Political leadership is needed to explain to our publics why transatlantic security cooperation remains crucially important. By pushing forward a common transatlantic security agenda we set the right example.

Mr. President, the fact that you honour NATO with your presence here today underscores the importance you attach to our Alliance and to the values it stands for. We are looking forward to what you have to say to us.

Let me now give the floor to the Dean of the North Atlantic Council, Ambassador Kovanda to welcome you on behalf of Council members.

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