Updated: 22-Apr-2005 NATO Speeches


21 April 2005

Opening Statement

by NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer at the NATO-Russia Council on the level of Foreign ministers
Signing Ceremony: Accession of the Russian Federation
to the Partnership for Peace Status of Forces Agreement

20-21/04/2005 - Vilnius
Informal meeting of Foreign Ministers

Ministers, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Dobroye utro. Bonjour.

Before we begin our meeting today, I am pleased to welcome what is a concrete milestone in practical NATO-Russia co-operation: the signature by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of the Partnership for Peace Status of Forces Agreement.

Russia ’s accession to the PfP SOFA will open important new horizons for concrete, practical NATO-Russia co-operation. It will provide us with a much needed legal framework that enhances substantially our ability to act together in the face of common threats, whether in support of the Alliance’s efforts to promote peace and stability in Afghanistan, or in the further development of interoperability between NATO and Russian military forces.

Signature Of Pfp Sofa By Minister Lavrov,
Followed By Brief Remarks

Thank you. Russia’s accession to the PfP SOFA is indeed a milestone of NATO-Russia co-operation. It is also a clear signal that the course of co-operation charted by our leaders in Pratica di Mare three years ago when they established this body is fixed and well on track.

The NATO-Russia Council has become an effective forum for concrete, practical co‑operation. But equally important is its role as a forum for political dialogue, where we can discuss our differences openly, in a spirit of true partnership, also when we might not entirely agree, and seek ever greater opportunities for common approaches to common challenges.

And just as Russia’s accession to the SOFA will pave the way for additional practical co-operation, I am confident that our informal discussion here today – on Afghanistan, on Kosovo, on Georgia and on other issues Ministers would like to raise – will provide a strong impulse to our efforts at political consensus-building.

I would now ask the members of the press to leave the room, so that we can begin our meeting.

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