Updated: 30-Oct-2006 NATO Speeches


14 Feb. 2005

Press point

with NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
and the Prime Minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia1, Mr. Vlado Buckovski


Audio file (.MP3/5405Kb)

JAAP DE HOOP SCHEFFER (NATO Secretary General): Let me say that it gives me great pleasure first of all, to see and to meet my friend, now Prime Minister, the former defence minister Buckovski here at NATO.

I met him the last time in Skopje in a different capacity so it was easy to discuss defence reform of course but we discussed more than that. And let me once again also here congratulate the Prime Minister with his new energetic team.

What we of course did was we went through the agenda we have in the framework of the map, the membership action plan process. I could tell the Prime Minister that the signals and the signs are green as far as the progress that Macedonia is meeting in the framework of the membership action plan.

We discussed the progress in defence reform. We discussed, and I applauded the Prime Minister, for the participation in NATO's peacekeeping operations.

We discussed, of course, the very important elections which will be held soon as a, let's say, a litmus test and I'm sure they will be free and fair. They must be free and fair to the situation where the country is now, a first round and possibly a second round, after the difficult hurdles I think which had to be crossed and which were crossed in the recent past. These elections I think will be landmark in the sense that they will show the progress the country, Macedonia, has made on its way and that is of course for the membership action program very much, very, very important indeed.

So I can say in general, and not to be too long, that I think the membership action plan is functioning very well. I told the Prime Minister that the summit which NATO will have next week--Tuesday--will not be a summit about enlargement. It will be a summit- this summit will be about other subjects. So enlargement is not a buried subject in NATO of course because NATO has an open door but it will not be discussed next week because other subjects will be on the agenda.

Nevertheless this Prime Minister and his government do not need any encouragement I think from a NATO Secretary General to go on the way which will lead to the only recipe I see, as I've said many times before, for the region that is Euro-Atlantic integration.

And I meet the Prime Minister on what I consider a very important day because this afternoon, as you know, there will be the questionnaire ceremony at the European Union to show that also in this respect the Prime Minister, his team and his country are making the progress necessary for Euro-Atlantic integration.

So Prime Minister, once again, you're very welcome.

VLADO BUCKOVSKI (Prime Minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia): Thank you Secretary General.


BUCKOVSKI (voice of translator): Allow me to thank for the hospitality of the Secretary General.

We have discussed the four topics that he has already mentioned and I would also like to add that we have assured the Secretary General of the constructive role of the Republic of Macedonia in the region; also in the defence reforms but also in the other areas of reforms and we will prove that Macedonia will deserve its position.

We are continuing to function as a de facto member of NATO but we're expecting to be the new member of NATO at the next summit of enlargement so that Macedonia could receive the statutes that will confirm its European values.

Q. (ARD First German Television): Mr. Secretary General, there is a big discussion about NATO since last weekend. What is your answer to the proposal and to the analysts of Gerhard Schroeder?

DE HOOP SCHEFFER: Well let me- let me first of all say that I think the Chancellor echoed in his speech an element which I consider of great importance which is strengthening the political role of NATO. I've been making that plea for the past year, since taking office, and I think any ideas the Chancellor has or might have on strengthening this political role he'll find me- he'll find me on his side because I think the modern threats and challenges demand of NATO, and of the North Atlantic Council, that it plays a stronger political role and I am very open to any suggestion the Chancellor might have to strengthen this role.

I think it should be NATO's role which should be strengthened. I do not think we do need any new structure in the transatlantic relationship. We have NATO which is doing well, is alive and kicking in its partnerships, in its outreach to the Middle East, in its military transformation, in its political transformation.

So NATO is doing well and I do not need any new structural recipes for NATO because NATO is fully in transformation and that's necessary. Transformation of NATO has been bigger over the past 3-4 years, with credit to my predecessor Lord Robertson, than in the decades before that.

Where I make my point is that we do not need new structures and I think, quite honestly, we do not need external advisors. We can take, let's say, the new challenges in the framework we have, in the unique framework we have, which is the transatlantic alliance, which is NATO with 26 Allies including the United States of America around the table.

Q: Secretary General, if the Republic of Macedonia together with two other countries that are in membership action plan continue to make progress, is it for you visible that next year, if there is going to be a summit those countries will receive an invitation to join NATO? And if I may one question, if you can comment the nationalistic behaviour of the President of Serbia during his visit in Kosovo which Kosovar Albanians are calling a provocation?

DE HOOP SCHEFFER: On your last question, I'm not going to comment on what other leaders say/where. I mean it's crystal clear, as far as Kosovo is concerned, that Kosovo enters a very crucial period because there will be standard(?) evaluation rather soon. I think Soren Jessen-Petersen is doing a very good job indeed and we should not be- and he should not be and I will not be distracted by comments made in the framework of that process.

NATO has an important role through the presence of KFOR in Kosovo and NATO will play its political part in that process as well. Of course not to play the first violin but to be active in the extended contact group because NATO is not merely a troop provider, NATO wants to play this political role as well.

On the first part of your question, I'm not going to mention dates or years but when I say that this summit- this coming summit of next Tuesday is a summit which will not have NATO enlargement on the agenda, or the position of the map countries, that does of course not exclude at all that next summits will.

I mean the issue of enlargement is not buried. It is very much alive and that is the situation. I do not know when there will be a next summit so it's very difficult for me to comment on timeframes.


Q: Mr. Scheffer, do you agree with our Prime Minister that we are going to get the invitation in 2006?

DE HOOP SCHEFFER: Well I think I just answered that question to be quite honest because your colleague asked in fact the same question so if you read your notes or his notes, you have the answer.


Q. (voice of translator): I would like to ask the General Secretary whether they have discussed with the Prime Minister on the equitable representation of the Albanians in the army in accordance with the action plan?

DE HOOP SCHEFFER: Yes we did discuss this as we discussed let's say other important elements like the fight against corruption, equal representation. More in general, the reform of the judiciary, defence reform, and of course in the framework of defence reform equal representation is a very, very important subject indeed as I have discussed not for the first time with the Prime Minister but we also discussed this with him in his former capacity, certainly.


Q: Mr. Scheffer, short comment about your statement that this government and this Prime Minister don't need encouragement on the way to NATO. Why do you think this? Did they (inaudible) their job or what?

DE HOOP SCHEFFER: If you think the Prime Minister needs encouragement I can encourage him by tapping him on the shoulder which I'll gladly do. I was saying that as I see let's say the government operate on the different subjects, which are very important within the framework of the membership action plan, I see that they are making progress. I mean I wouldn't be honest if I would say the opposite here.

And I consider- and I realize this is not always very easy, equal representation is not very easy but it should be done. Fighting corruption is not easy but it should be done. Reforming the judiciary is not easy but it should be done.

And I think this Prime Minister, and Foreign Minister Mitreva and others, realize very well how much importance NATO attaches to a positive outcome of these processes. These processes- is the government already entirely at its destination? No it's not and they will be the first to realize. But I mean, so if this sounds as a note of encouragement, please accept the note of encouragement but this is the way I see it.

  1. Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.
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