Updated: 30-Oct-2006 NATO Speeches


19 Jan. 2005

Opening statement

by the Dean of the Council his Excellency Mr. Karel Kovanda
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 (.MP3/1211kb)
19/01/2005 - NATO
High resolution photos

It is a rare privilege to welcome an allied leader among us and on behalf of the Council I do welcome you most cordially. For me personally, this is a great honour.

We have entered a remarkable year of anniversaries. These days we are commemorating the 60th anniversary of the liberation of concentration camps. Later this year we will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II; this event sealed the fate of Brown totalitarianism.

But this year we will also be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Germany joining NATO; a crucial event which allowed the Alliance to put on serious footing the task of protecting free Europe against Red totalitarianism.

Mr. President the fate of you and your family bares witness to that history. Your people traversed half of Europe moving from today's Moldova to today's Poland, from there to yesterday's German Democratic Republic, from there finally to the Federal Republic of Germany where you have now assumed the highest possible office. What an odyssey. What a testimony to the changing face of Europe in the last century.

But while Brown and Red regimes are dead, other nefarious regimes and organizations have sprouted up in various parts of the world. Consequently there continues to be more than enough work for NATO to do and we are proud that in our current geographical spread, unimaginable just a few years ago, Germany is playing an important role as the Secretary General recalled.

Being actually responsible, among other, for the very farthest reaches of NATO's presence anywhere in Afghanistan's far northeast. For this we are extremely grateful and on a national note, if you permit me, it feels me with pride that a contingent of Czech soldiers will be joining yours in Faisabad in the foreseeable future.

In your inaugural address six months ago, Mr. President, you ranged far and wide covering grounds from Leibniz to Leipzig, from the design of a football to the design for a Europe. You spoke of a Renaissance in Germany but the breadth of your concerns and interests reveal you as a Renaissance man yourself.

Your concern for the wellbeing of your compatriots was evident but you are concerned for the people world over. This was clear from your previous work in the IMF; and your first trip abroad, having taken you to some of the most desolate parts of Africa only underscores this.

Mr. President you have invited your compatriots to strive for the almost impossible. You may wish to address the same advice to this organization as well.

In this you echoed, consciously or not, the great cry of our generation in 1968 in Paris: Soyez réalistes, demandez l'impossible. With leaders manifesting your kind of vision and your kind of solidarity with the oppressed, Mr. President, we just might manage that.


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