Updated: 30-May-2005 NATO Speeches

Åre, Sweden

25 May 2005

EAPC Security Forum

Panel 4 “Acting in concert in the Balkans and elsewhere – How can institutional cooperation make the world more secure?”

This transcript was published as received

DIMITRIJ RUPEL (Foreign Minister of Slovenia, and Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE): Excellencies, colleagues, friends, we are starting the panel that has a title, 'Acting in Concert in the Balkans and Elsewhere: How Can Institutional Cooperation Make the World More Secure?' I… I'm proud to be able to chair this panel.

I would like to welcome the cooperation of distinguished members of this panel. Pierre Lelouche is Member of the French National Assembly, and President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Nicolas Burns is Under Secretary for Political Affairs in the Department of State in the United States. Kolinda Graber-Kitarovic, she is Minister of Foreign Affairs of Croatia. Kastriot Islami is Foreign Minister of Albania. And we have James Elles, Member of European Parliament, Chairman of the Transatlantic Policy Network. And last is Nicholas Whyte, Director of the European Programme of the International Crisis Group, our Rapporteur. Our boss, actually is Jamie Shea, whom NATO members and NATO aspirants know for some time… have known for some time. He's Deputy Assistant Secretary General for External Relations in the Public Diplomacy Division, one of the most important people in NATO, in… in this organization that is meeting here today.

Now, if you allow me, I shall say a few words of introduction, and then I shall invite other members of this panel to participate in the debate. First, I… I shall… I shall not be alone in saying that it is a pleasure to take part in this panel discussion. But before turning the floor over to the speakers, I would like to give to you an overview of how the OAC cooperates with international partners.

Many examples I shall… I shall mention will be taken from the Balkans as well as other parts of the OAC area. Generally speaking, the basic premise of our approach is cooperation with the countries, with the host countries, where we work in cooperation with the international partners. This cooperation manifests itself in many ways. The most common are regular contact between OAC institutions, field missions, and units of the Secretariat with the host states. In this way, the OAC offers support through providing recommendations and programmatic support on a range of issues from, for example, amending legislation, to community policing, destroying ammunition stockpiles, and combating trafficking in human beings.

The OAC is only one of the players in the international security network. We also maintain regular contacts with, for example, the United Nations and its agencies, the European Union, Council of Europe, NATO, as well as sub-regional organizations and NGOs in order to effectively complement our work. We have -- we have -- this is something that I wanted to stress. We have to avoid duplication of resources, and we have to avoid forum shopping, as it is being called.

Inter-institutional cooperations occurs at different stages. There are of course regular contact between secretariats, working meetings and regular high-level coordination meetings, for example with the UN, EU, NATO and Council of Europe.

Let me say something about sharing information and expertise. At various levels we share information. Some international partners draw on information from OAC field mission reports. A good example was through our border monitoring work in Albania and Macedonia in 1998 and 1999, when the OAC had a presence on Albania's northern border and monitored the flow of refugees and the humanitarian situation during the crisis in Kosovo. The OAC gave early warning to the international community about the dangers of a spill-over of the country. As a result, coordinated international action was taken, and a crisis was averted.

Now, the OAC… I speak a lot about the OAC, since I'm its Chairman-in-Office. You have noticed that. The OAC shares its expertise with other partners, and vice-versa. This is particularly the case in the human dimension, where the OAC and the Council of Europe are taking steps to make more effective use of each other's strengths to improve practical cooperation and avoid duplication.

In Kosovo, the European Union pillar and the European Agency of Reconstruction participate in the OAC managed assembly support initiative and inter-agency coordination mechanism for democratization programs aimed at building capacity in the Assembly of Kosovo. The OAC is also increasingly consulted by the EU and NATO in regard to their action plans in OAC participating states as they become more active in the south Caucasus, in Moldova and in central Asia.

My impression is that sharing of information and expertise will increase and become more important as the area of activities for major organizations like the OAC, EU, NATO and the Council of Europe overlaps, and the challenges to security become more complex and cross-dimensional. We will therefore need to keep each other well informed of developments and of each other's activities, share ideas, experiences and best practices to tackle common problems, and talk to each other in the field in order to avoid stepping on each other toes… each other's toes and duplicating resources.

Let me say something about the common tasks. It may be that there are tasks that we can carry out together. This is already the case in some OAC activities. In Kosovo, for example, the OAC, the UN, and the EU closely cooperate as partners in the Ulmich (ph) pillar structure. The OAC pillar is responsible for institution building, the two UN pillars deal with civil administration and police and justice, and the EU pillar works on economic reconstruction.

All three organizations have distinct and separate mandates, but there are naturally areas where they work together. For example, the standards process is an obvious case where representatives from each organization have closely cooperated both in the drafting of the implementation plan for certain key standards, and subsequently in monitoring the provision of the institution of self-governments… governance, progress in putting that plan into practice.

The OAC and NATO are planning to conduct joint assessments and joint implementation of projects on environmental security and on the disposal of ammunition and small arms and light weapons. These projects build on existing good cooperation with NATO. For example, in the Balkans we have… where we have a good record in cooperation on security sector reform and governance.

Border management is a good example of a multi-faceted subject that requires multi-institutional cooperation. In the Balkans the OAC has been working with NATO, the EU and the Stabilipact (ph) to develop integrated border management strategies in the region through the so-called Ochrit (ph) process. Ochrit is a place in Macedonia. This type of experience could also be used in other areas also involving other partners.

A few more words on crisis management and conflict resolution. When crisis erupt, we have to be ready and we have to pull together. There is no formal mechanism for pooling resources during a crisis or for sharing information. It is ad hoc and usually coordinated on the ground, especially during a fast-breaking crisis. In Kyrghystan, for example, the OAC has a lead role in seeking a political solution of the crisis. But the Kyrghyz authorities also seek humanitarian assistance and economic support. Here we defer to others better to help, for example, the UNDP and international financial institutions.

When civil unrest swept through Albania in 1998, the OAC led the international stabilization effort and provided the framework under which a number of organizations and a military coalition of the willing helped to restore order and support reconciliation.

In the autumn and winter of 2000, regional tensions threatened to spill over into the Preshova (ph) Valley in south Serbia. Together with NATO, the OAC managed to defuse the tensions, facilitated dialogue, promoted local self-government, and assisted with reforms, including community policing.

During the crisis in Macedonia between 2001 and 2003, the OAC, EU and NATO worked closely together and with the parties to stabilize the situation and hammer out the so-called Ochrit agreement that I have already mentioned.

Increasingly, the European Union is becoming involved in conflict resolution, for example with special representatives for the south Caucasus and Moldova. The OAC, which has a mandate, a lead role in working with the parties in resolving the transvistian (ph), Georgian Oceashan (ph), and the Gorno-Kaloba (ph) conflicts, frequently consult… consults with the EU and other international partners on development in these conflicts. There is also concrete cooperation, for example in the zone of the Georgian Oceashan conflict, where the OAC cooperates with the EU, particularly on issues of economic rehabilitation, of the zone of conflict, and implements an EU-funded project.

And I'd like to conclude with the special relationship with the… with the United Nations. The OAC has a special relationship with… with the UN. It is a regional arrangement under Chapters 8 of the United Nations Charter. Where possible, we try to shoulder the burden of the UN community in the OAC area. For example, in Kosovo the OAC mission, so-called OMIC (ph), is a key pillar of the UN's Ulmich mission. I hope that OMIC can take on an even greater portion of the UN's role in Kosovo in the years ahead.

Recently the OAC opened a new chapter in its relations with the UN by taking on a greater responsibility for working with the Ichti (ph) to monitor war crime… war crimes trials in Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The OAC helps participating states implement international commitments at a region level. For example, we work with the UN Counter Terrorism Committee and the UN Office for Drugs and Crime to assist OAC states to implement UN resolutions on counter terrorism. We also work closely with the UN Economic Commission for Europe to monitor implementation of economic and environmental commitments.

We agree with the recommendations of the United Nations' high-level panel and of UN Secretary General Koffi Annan which tell… which call for the UN to make more effective use of its relations with regional organizations. In turn, I think that the OAC could go even farther in developing its links with sub-regional organizations.

To conclude, I would like to underline the need for effective coordination and pragmatic cooperation. This does not require countless meetings. It takes common sense, open channels of communication, and a healthy sense of realism about the potential role of contributors. Organizations should act where they have something to offer, and not to be afraid to defer to others who are more suitable for the situation at hand. States should take a more interested role in ensuring that their institutions serve their needs and priorities and defend the interests and values that they were created for.

Wherever possible, I believe that the OAC expertise should be offered to other regions of the world. This is a trend in NATO and in the EU, and also in the OAC, where in 2004 the organization sent an election support team to Afghanistan to assist with the presidential elections. This was an excellent example of cooperation between the OAC, the UN, NATO, and the UN, and demonstrate how the OAC can help other regions promote security and democracy. I believe it could serve as a model for other operations in the future.

So I thank you for your attention, and I… I would like… now I would like to invite Pierre Lelouche to make his contribution. Thank you.

PIERRE LELOUCHE (Member of the French National Assembly, and President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly): Merci. I would like to first of all thank our Swedish hosts for the perfect organization of the meeting. We are far from any conflicts here. We are far from any international organization. And if distance is proportional to wisdom, I'm sure we'll be very wise today.

Maintenant que j'ai dit ça, je vais continuer en français naturellement. Et je voudrais en guise d'introduction dire d'abord que je suis un universitaire et ensuite un homme politique. Donc, je ne veux pas maintenant prétendre ce matin être diplomate d'aucune façon, mais essayer de mettre en perspective la question qui nous intéresse ce matin, c'est-à-dire le besoin d'une meilleure coopération entre les organisations internationales pour améliorer notre efficacité dans le maintien de la paix, la reconstruction des États en faillite etc.

La première remarque que je ferais, c'est une remarque de nature historique. À la fin de la deuxième guerre mondiale, les vainqueurs avaient une organisation internationale mondiale qui était basée elle-même sur l'expérience de l'échec de la Société des Nations, quelques organisations spécialisées en matière économique, monétaire ou en matière de santé et les organisations en matière de sécurité étaient dédiées, étaient incluses dans un projet stratégique qui était l'endiguement de l'Union soviétique et l'OTAN avait un rôle extrêmement précis dans cette affaire. L'OTAN qui a permis le réarmement de l'Allemagne et à partir de là a permis la naissance du processus d'intégration européenne dans la paix, dans la partie ouest de l'Europe.

La difficulté aujourd'hui c'est que nous ne sommes plus du tout dans la même phase de l'histoire. Nous avons depuis la fin de la guerre froide une explosion, une prolifération des conflits. Et ce sont souvent des conflits à l'intérieur des États. Des conflits qui révèlent soit l'implosion d'une région, soit l'implosion d'État. Et nous avons aussi vu une... une prolifération du nombre d'institutions qui de près ou de loin s'occupent de ces conflits, sans parler d'institutions internationales, sans parler des organisations non-gouvernementales. Et tout ceux qui ont été sur les zones de guerre ont trouvé des dizaines, voire des centaines d'organisations privées internationales qui sont là, sur le terrain à côté des organisations internationales. Donc, nous avons un véritable fouillis d'organisations internationales, différentes les unes des autres.

L'ONU, je ne veux pas ici vous faire l'injure de vous rappeler les différences entre les unes et les autres. L'ONU étant la source de la légitimité et du droit international, l'OSCE ayant la compétence que son président vient de rappeler, l'Union européenne ayant à la fois des compétences civiles, politiques, monétaires et un début, un embryon de compétence en matière militaire et l'OTAN restant dans l'après-guerre froide une organisation militaire qui cherche un rôle politique et qui, même, se cherche une mission.

Si le thème de la coopération ou de la complémentarité ou de la compétition de la concurrence entre ces organisations est notre sujet aujourd'hui, a été évoqué hier soir, aussi bien hier soir que ce matin à nouveau par les orateurs, c'est que chacun sent bien que ça ne marche pas très bien.

Dans les Balkans, je rappelle que les Occidentaux sont intervenus dans... dans un désordre assez considérable jusqu'à ce que l'OTAN intervienne. Et quand l'OTAN est intervenue, elle est intervenue sans mandat des Nations-Unies. Je crois que ce n'est pas inutile de le rappeler.

En Irak, les États-Unis ont préféré agir seul sur la base d'une coalition ad hoc avec une OTAN qui, par ailleurs, était paralysée par ses propres divisions internes et des Nations-Unies qui étaient également paralysées à cause des différents entre les membres... certains des membres permanents du Conseil de sécurité.

En Afghanistan, on a aujourd'hui une situation où l'OTAN gère la partie militaire et même de plus en plus la partie de reconstruction civile à côté de l'intervention des Nations-Unies et de l'Union européenne et d'un nombre incalculable d'organisations non-gouvernementales. Dans le Darfour, hier même, on a vu l'OTAN et l'Union européenne si j'ai bien compris faire exactement les mêmes propositions à l'OUA en terme de soutiens logistiques. Et dans le Caucase, où là aussi je peux parler comme témoin visuel de ce que j'ai vu, on a une OSCE qui fait le meilleur travail possible mais avec peu de moyens et avec, en face d'elle, une franche résistance d'un parti... d'une partie, si vous voyez ce que je veux dire, d'une partie importante.

Mais il y a un autre volet à ce que je viens de dire. Non seulement, ça ne marche pas très bien. Mais en plus, il y a sous-jacent, en tout cas dans l'affaire euro-américaine - ici, nous sommes en train de parler du partenariat euro-atlantique, donc il n'est pas inutile de parler des relations euro-américaines, un débat nouveau est en train de s'installer entre Européens et Américains sur le rôle respectif de l'Union européenne d'une part et de l'OTAN d'autre part. Ce débat, il était sous-jacent jusqu'au début de cette année où le président Bush, lui-même, en venant à Bruxelles, au siège de l'Union européenne a solennellement reconnu l'Union européenne comme un partenaire, et pas seulement un partenaire économique, mais aussi bien un partenaire politique. Et puis ceux qui étaient à Verkund (?) début février à Munich se souviennent de cette phrase célèbre du discours du chancellier néo-gaulliste Shroeder qui a dit - et j'ai la citation en anglais:

'NATO is no longer the primary venue where transatlantic partners discuss and coordinate strategy.' Et il ajoutetait, 'Current EU-US dialogue doesn't do justice, neither to the union growing importance nor to the new demand of transatlantic relations.'

Donc, le moins qu'on puisse dire c'est que... une dialectique complexe est en train de s'instaurer entre l'OTAN et l'Union européenne dans l'affirmation du rôle politique et stratégique de l'Europe et le centre de gravité dans les relations euro-américaines.

Ironiquement, tout ceci est en train de se passer à un moment où toutes... je dis bien toutes les organisations internationales que j'ai citées tout à l'heure traversent une "mid-life crisis", une crise de croissance provoquée par la réalisation soudaine que les missions ont changé avec la fin de la guerre froide. C'est vrai des Nations-Unies qui sont en train de réfléchir à l'évolution de leurs institutions et Kemal Dervis, ce matin, a dit très justement un certain nombre de choses sur l'évolution indispensable du Conseil de sécurité. C'est vrai de l'OSCE. Une partie très importante de l'OSCE n'a pas envie que l'OSCE continue par exemple et s'ingénie à compliquer par le biais de son budget le devenir même de cette institution qui joue un rôle très important aux marges de l'ancienne Union soviétique. C'est vrai de l'OTAN. Moi, je suis attaché à l'OTAN. Et président de l'assemblée de l'OTAN, ce n'est pas moi qui vais tirer sur une organisation que je considère essentielle sur la paix du monde. Mais, pardonnez moi, quelle a été la place de l'OTAN dans les événements graves que nous avons connus depuis le 11 septembre. Nous, Européens, avons fait jouer l'article 5. Est-ce que l'OTAN a joué sur les affaires de terrorisme? Non.

Est-ce que l'OTAN a été impliqué dans les affaires post-11 septembre, notamment en Irak? Non. Est-ce que... Et j'ai posé cette question a M. Rumfeld au mois de mars... de février dernier à Munich, est-ce que l'OTAN en tant que structure de consultation, de coopération sur les questions stratégiques entre l'Europe et les États-Unis, est-ce que l'OTAN est compatible avec une doctrine américaine qui fait passer la coalition avant toute autre alliance dans l'exécution d'une mission stratégique.

If the mission is a coalition, where is the role for NATO?

Cette question, je l'ai posé à M. Rumfeld. Il a répondu, la mission est la coalition. Si la mission est la coalition, honnêtement, je sais pas à quoi sert l'Alliance atlantique. Et donc la vraie question s'agissant du devenir de l'Alliance atlantique, c'est quel est le rôle que les États-Unis veulent voir jouer à l'Alliance dans l'après-guerre froide.

Regardons maintenant l'Union européenne. Nous, Français, on est payé pour le savoir, puisque le sort... une partie du sort de l'Union se joue dimanche dans le référendum français, et merdredi, dans le référendum hollandais. Vous avez vu l'Union européenne se doter progressivement d'une personnalité politique et stratégique. Et dans la charte, dans le projet de traité constitutionnel, vous trouvez, pour citer M. Kissinger "what telephone number", on lui a donné un numéro de téléphone. On a un président, un ministre des Affaires étrangères, une clause de sécurité collective, une autre clause de sécurité collective en matière de lutte contre le terrorisme, des organes spécialisés en matière de défense, un état-major, un comité d'ambassadeurs, et même une agence de l'armement, une liste de missions. La seule chose que les Européens ont oublié de mettre dans leur constitution, c'est des moyens. Et donc, nous avons plein de comités, nous avons plusieurs statuts possibles. Il y a même des neutres, la Suède en est un bon exemple, dans l'Union européenne. Mais ce qu'il n'y a pas c'est la volonté de fabriquer une armée commune au-delà de quelques régiments capables de se projeter.

Est-ce qu'il est raisonnable pour 450 millions d'Européens de n'avoir de forces disponibles qu'une douzaine de régiments, c'est une vraie question? Donc, d'une part, il y a une interrogation sur le devenir de l'OTAN dans la politique américaine. D'autre part, il y a une vraie interrogation sur le devenir de l'Union politique européenne en fonction de la volonté de ses États membres. Une partie de cette réponse, c'est dimanche dans le référendum français. Une autre, c'est dans l'état des budgets de défense à travers toute l'Europe et notamment en Allemagne et dans d'autres pays. Telle est la réalité.

À partir de là, deux points de conclusion. D'abord, en ce qui concerne la nécessité de faire travailler ensemble ces institutions. Il va sans dire que du point de vue des missions qui sont en face de nous, qui sont des missions humanitaires qui consistent à sauver des vies, les batailles théologiques n'ont pas lieu d'être. Et je préférerais entendre parler de coordination, de partenariat, plutôt que de compétition entre telle ou telle institution. Comme il a été dit ce matin, très souvent dans les crises que nous avons, ce sont de plus en plus des crises internes, nous n'avons pas le temps. Donc, ce qu'il faut, c'est éviter les batailles idéologiques et théologiques, organiser cette coopération si possible en amont, et faire attention aussi dans le débat sur soft power, hard power. Dans cette affaire de conflits qui sont à la fois des conflits où on a besoin de moyens civils et de moyens militaires, faites attention aux messages que vous donnez aux opinions publiques. À force de parler de soft power, nous n'allons plus avoir de budgets de défense dans la plupart des pays occidentaux. Les pays d'Europe aussi, et les pays occidentaux, ont besoin d'armées capables d'être projetées. Enfin, il faut s'interroger sur toutes ces affaires, sur les problèmes de légitimité internationale, donc le rôle de l'ONU, donc essayer de brancher nos interventions sur la Cour pénale internationale. Alors, je sais bien que malheureusement nos amis américains refusent d'adhérer à ce système juridictionnel pourtant pour moi très important. Si les gens qui se livrent au massacre en Ouzbékistan et ailleurs savaient qu'ils deviendraient justiciables devant la Cour pénale internationale, croyez-moi ça pourrait changer un certain nombre de choses dans la conduite en matière de sécurité. Enfin, il est important que nous développions à l'intérieur de l'Union... des Nations-Unies un principe qui permette de... de s'ingérer dans les affaires intérieures pour éviter les massacres de populations civiles comme nous le voyons trop souvent.

S'agissant... et un tout dernier mot sur ce que nous faisons, nous, à l'Assemblée de l'OTAN. Nous, Assemblée de l'OTAN, nous n'avons pas de problèmes métaphysiques de coopération avec les différentes organisations. Nous travaillons avec l'ensemble de nos collègues parlementaires. Et nous travaillons bien. J'étais en Ukraine au mois de décembre dernier pour l'élection de M. Yushenko. Et nous faisions cet... ce contrôle électoral sous l'égide de l'OSCE. J'étais en Afghanistan récemment, le président Karzai nous a demandé de participer au monitoring de ces élections. Nous allons le faire avec l'OSCE sans aucun problème et avec l'ONU. Idem pour les élections palestiniennes du 17 juillet où nous allons jouer un rôle. De la même façon, nous n'hésitons pas à travailler sur les sujets difficiles qu'il s'agisse des Balkans, du Caucase ou du Moyen-Orient. Là encore, sans entrer dans des querelles idéologiques entre l'OTAN, l'Union européenne et les États-Unis, le principal c'est d'essayer d'apporter la contribution qui doit être la nôtre le plus vite possible, le plus efficacement possible. J'ai coutume de dire que les députés et les sénateurs membres de l'Assemblée de l'OTAN sont d'abord les ambassadeurs de la démocratie.

Et c'est ce que nous faisons sans état d'âme. Mais il est de mon devoir comme président de cette assemblée, tout de même, de dire que quand on va sur les zones d'opération, on s'aperçoit que ça ne marche pas toujours très bien, qu'il y a souvent un chevauchement des institutions, que c'est souvent très cher, et que ça coûte au pays d'accueil...

En Afghanistan par exemple, les ministres afghans ne savent pas qui fait quoi dans leur propre département ministériel. Ça, c'est la réalité. Et que quelque part, une meilleure coordination de ces organes, peut-être par l'ONU, peut-être par un conseil d'administration, un peacekeeping board comme il a été posé (SIC)... proposé ce matin serait une bonne idée. Et enfin, je voudrais dire que s'agissant de... des députés de l'Assemblée de l'OTAN nous sommes là pour servir et nous le faisons sans état d'âme dans l'espoir quand même que nos chefs politiques aussi bien le président des États-Unis pour les États-Unis que les chefs d'État en Europe définissent assez vite un concept aussi bien pour le devenir de l'OTAN que pour le devenir de l'Union européenne. Pour l'instant nous sommes dans un flou artistique qui n'est pas optimal par rapport aux tâches qui sont devant nous. Merci de votre attention.

RUPEL: Merci, M. Lelouche, pour votre contribution. Now I have Under Secretary for Political Affa irs, Department of State, United States, Mr. Nicolas Burns. Please… take…

NICOLAS BURNS (Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Department of State, United States): Good morning. Thank you very much, Minister Rupel. Can you all hear me? Good. Thank you very much.

I thought this was a panel on the Balkans and it wasn't a panel focusing on the perceived weaknesses or strengths of American foreign policy. But I'm happy to respond to any charges made against us by… by my good friend Pierre Lelouche.

I want to talk about the Balkans. It… it occurs to me that we have so many talented and experienced people in the room that those of us up here should not monopolize the microphone. We have Ministers. We have the Minister of Macedonia here, as well as the Minister of Croatia and Albania. We have all the members of the NAC (ph), my former colleagues whom I'm delighted to see, and a lot of State Secretaries. So I hope that we can be brief and that we can turn this over quickly to a good discussion.

I do have a few things to say on the Balkans, but I think I've got to respond to the litany of charges and maybe some of the half-truths put forward about American foreign policy and America's adherence to NATO. The fact is that NATO is going to continue to be, for the United States, the central transatlantic institution. We disagree profoundly with what Chancellor Schroeder said… what was said on his behalf at the Verikunda (ph) conference. President Bush made it clear when he went to Brussels that NATO is the central transatlantic forum. It's not going to be US-EU relations, the place where… partnership where we talk about our security cooperation. In… in fact, it's going to be NATO, because that's where the United States is every day. That's our transatlantic connection. That's the organization that has actually been acting around the world, in Bosnia, in Kosovo in the nineties, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Darfour. And that's the place where I think you'll see the United States put the vast majority of its focus, and that should not be a surprise to anyone.

I hope that, as we move ahead, we can put behind us this tired old academic argument about what happened or didn't happen in 2001 when NATO invoked Article 5. The fact is that it was the United States that suggested that NATO ought to go into Afghanistan. That was a US suggestion, Pierre. And the fact is that four months before the Iraq war we suggested that NATO go into Iraq. And it was because of a division in… in the alliance that we couldn't go into Iraq together. But we preferred multilateral action to action with four allies.

And now of course all of Europe has a chance to join the United States and the United Kingdom and Britain and many other NATO allies to come into Iraq now. And 2005 ought to be the year for that, for people to put their soldiers into Iraq, now that there's an elected government, a sovereign government, a government that truly needs the help of all of Europe. And besides just debating about it, it would be a good thing if countries acted upon that.

The largest question when we talk about NATO-EU relations is what kind of relationship will it be. Will people follow the neo-Gallist (ph) vision of Europe as a counterweight to the United States, of Europe of building itself up in opposition to the United States, or will it be a Europe that truly wants to act in concert to the United States?

Over the last 60 years, since the end of the Second World War, Europe chose alliance with the United States. And that brought Europe 60 years of peace. It allowed you 60 years to build the European Union. And without that peace, you could not have done so. And it's given you peace because of the transatlantic umbrella, because of the protection that NATO continues to give this continent. And I'm profoundly reassured by my own eight years in Europe that the great majority of Europeans do not want this vision of Europe as counterweight to the United States. They want Europe in association with the United States, despite sometimes the disagreements we have, but the fact that we're centred in NATO, the one transatlantic institution that has the capacity to unify us.

So my shorthand response to Pierre would be to say that NATO actually is more vigorous now than it was ten or 15 years ago. We have more soldiers deployed in more missions than we ever did during the Cold War, in different places. It is certainly more relevant militarily than it ever was before. And it's the only way you're ever going to be able to truly work with the United States, and that's through NATO. So I'd be happy to debate that with Pierre or others. But let's talk about the Balkans.

Ten years ago today the Balkans wars were the most important worldwide security issue. They were as important in 1995 has Iraq has been to us over the last two years. And remember the images. The Bosnian Serbs were on a military offensive, and they were winning. UN peace keepers were chained to bridges as human shields throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina. And Srebernica occurred on July 11th and 12th and 13th of 1995, when 8000 men and boys were murdered in cold blood by General Rocko Melodich (ph), ordered by Radovan Carridich (ph). That was the image. Those were the images of ten years ago.

What happened? The international community reacted. At Lancaster House in London in July-August of 1995, under British leadership and UN leadership, we pulled together and said enough. Enough. And so on August 28th, 29th and 30th of 1995 NATO struck back at the Bosnian Serbs. And after two weeks we stopped the military offensive.

And then we maintained a peace that autumn. We went to the Dayton peace conference. We negotiated over 21 days of successful peace. And NATO kept that peace for the last nine years. And that was NATO's finest hour, and we should be proud of what NATO did. And now we're succeeded by the European Union. We're profoundly grateful that the EU has taken up NATO's role over the last year.

In 1999 NATO stepped in and prevented the ethnic cleansing of a million Kosovar Albanians, which was morally the right thing to do. And now, for the last six years, NATO has kept the peace there.

I think it's important to remember these images from 1995 and 1999 because they do remind us that the Balkans are vital. After all, the twentieth century began with a war in the Balkans in 1912 and '13 that precipitated the Great War, and it ended the twentieth century with war in the Balkans in which 250,000 people died and two and a half million people were made refugees.

And what my government is trying to do over the last few weeks is to announce a renewed American commitment to try to help the Balkan people finish the job of building a region of peace. And so we believe very much that 2005 should be a year where we reinvest in Bosnia and Herzegovina to help the people there create one state with a single set of institutions, a single military, and a truly multi-ethnic state that has overcome the terrible divisions of the past.

And here there's going to be special responsibility on the Bosnian Serbs to unite with the Bosniacs and the Croats, to put aside the dreams of the past that failed for them, and to find Radovan Carridich, to arrest him, and to extradite him to The Hague where he has to be, where he has to face justice. And that's obviously our first priority of business.

The second priority is to work with Serbia-Montenegro, and to bring that very great country back into the family of European and transatlantic nations. Serbia-Montenegro, as well as Bosnia-Herzegovina, should be a member of NATO in the future. But it can't do that unless it deals with its horrible legacy of aggression against its neighbours. And so it has to arrest Rocko Melodich. And we're convinced that Rocko Melodich is in Serbia, and that he has been and continues to be supported by elements of the Serb army -- not the leadership, but elements of the Serb army. He's guilty of war crimes at Srebernica. He should be arrested and sent to The Hague. And we can't have a normal relationship with Serbia-Montenegro until that happens… until that happens.

But we're confident that… with the fact that 12 Serb citizens have been turned over to The Hague in the last two months. We're confident that the government in Belgrade understands that there is really no place for them, certainly not in NATO, until they take… take this very important steps. And then that great nation can put its past behind it and it can begin to reconstruct itself and engage in the type of reform that Albania and Macedonia and Croatia and all the other countries of that region are presently doing. It needs to catch up with its neighbours and become a normal nation again. And we hope very much for that. And we have profound respect for the government in Belgrade for what it's trying to do to reform its country. But certainly it has to take this major step to rejoin the European and American family of nations.

In Kosovo we believe that 2005 should be a year of decision where the aspirations of the Kosovar people have to be met at long last after… after six years. And so we very much support the United Nations Secretary General. We hope that by next week he'll have nominated our colleague, Ky Aida (ph), to become the special United Nations negotiator to conduct a… conduct an assessment this summer of the standards process and to certify that Kosovo is ready for final status talks.

We expect that will be the outcome, but it's up to Ky Aida to determine if that is actually the appropriate step forward. And if it is, then my country will support Koffi Annan and a UN process to convene final status talks this autumn. We think it should be led by a European… senior European politician. We'd be happy to appoint an American diplomat to be deputy to that senior European politician. But we think it's time to get the authorities in Belgrade to sit down with the Kosovar Albanian community of leadership, with the Kosovar Serb leadership, and with the neighbours to the… to the… to Kosovo, and to negotiate the final status of Kosovo itself.

We don't think it's for the United States or anyone else to determine what that status is, so we have not supported any specific outcome. But we don't think that people's aspirations for self-rule, for true independence from the affairs of the region and from the wars of the region can be… can be held up forever. And so whatever those people choose, whether it's independence, whether it's continued association with Serbia-Montenegro, whether it's some middle way, they have to be the ones that make that decision, not us. But we… they have to be given the right to have that process, and we will support it under UN auspices in the autumn.

So on these three fronts -- completing the job of building a unitary Bosnian state; bringing Serbia-Montenegro back into the family of nations; setting Kosovo in its path to a future that it decides and the Kosovar decides -- we think in 2005 all of these things should happen. The US is recommitting itself to the region. We're keeping our troops in Kosovo as part of K4. We're enormously proud of what NATO has done in both Bosnia and Kosovo. These are going to be tough negotiations on Kosovo specifically, but we think the time has come to embark on them.

Why do we assert this? And why do we assert that the Balkans are still vital, and that NATO and the OSCE and the other international institutions should pay attention to the Balkans and be involved? We do because we believe in the aspiration… the great aspiration of the generation of 1989 and 1991, people like Helmut Kole and Francois Mitterand and Margaret Thatcher and George H.W. Bush. They said that the great strategic goal of Europe and of my country should be a united, peaceful, stable Europe.

And that vision of a Europe that has never existed before but that can be existed in our lifetime can only be realized if the Balkans are part of it. You can't have the Balkans fester as an island of instability and violence and expect Europe to be free and united and stable. And so that's why we support a final status process for Kosovo and a redemptive reform process for Serbia-Montenegro, and a future unitary state in Sarajevo, in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

And that's also why we support Macedonia and Albania and Croatia as future members of our alliance. I had the great pleasure to meet the three Ministers yesterday. And we're working -- they are working very hard to meet the requirements of NATO membership. We want to see them become members of NATO. And as soon as all those requirements are met, we will support them. And I'm sure other countries will as well. And when they take their place in NATO, they will be an example to Belgrade and to Pristina (ph) and to Sarajevo of what their future is, the future of those latter three countries and what can… what can happen for them if they reform and believe in democracy and believe that war is not the answer and inter-ethnic hatred is not the answer.

So I'm happy to contribute those thoughts. I apologize for going longer than I thought I would, Mr. Minister. But I look forward to a good conversation with everyone in this room.

RUPEL: Thank you. Thank you, Ambassador. I… I… I really enjoyed your speech. The third speaker is Kolinda Graber-Kitarovic, who is Minister of Foreign Affairs of Croatia. Please, Kolinda.

KOLINDA GRABER-KITAROVIC (Minister of Foreign Affairs of Croatia): Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, first of all it's a great pleasure to be here, and I will join everyone else in thanking our Swedish hosts for the excellent organization of this event.

Coming from Croatia of course I will concentrate on the region of south-eastern Europe, or western Balkans, and try to give a contribution from the… the position of the country that's going through a double process of transition, like the other eastern European countries from a centrally planned to a market economy, but also from a country that was just recently affected by war and aggression against its people and territory, but it's today firmly on the way towards a future in the European Union and a finalizing resolving the issues that were left from the recent conflict.

In the area of south-eastern Europe there is a number of initiatives, and they have all undoubtedly contributed to the stabilization of the region. However, I will concentrate on the Euro-Atlantic process… Euro-Atlantic integration process, because I believe that it offers the best possibilities and the best incentives for the region.

First of all, I strongly agree with… with Nic Burns that the prospect of integration of south-eastern Europe in the European Union is the… the only way to have a lasting stability and peace in the region, but also to have a Europe whole, free and at peace, as the president said. But also the… this process serves as a very strong incentive to all the countries in the region that, by fulfilling the criteria for membership, they reform their own countries, their own governments, their own societies, and helps them as a catalyst. There's a very strong catalyst that sets before each of our countries a strong, a firm, and determined agenda aimed at positioning our countries as exemplary European democracies, as strong market societies, but also countries that care about people, that care about neighbourhood, and that care about the stability of the region, of Europe, and of… of course of global stability as well.

The overall security situation in southeast Europe today looks more favourable if compared to the past decades. A lot has been done. And to a large extent, that has been the result of… of the activities and reforms undertaken in the framework of the Euro-Atlantic institutional cooperation. In this context, we must commend the positive influence of the Partnership for Peace, which Croatia, by the way, joined on this way… on this day five years ago, especially through the NATO membership action plan, as well as the EU process of stabilization and association in the area of south-eastern Europe, for which I would say is one of the successes of the European common foreign and security policy.

These mechanisms, together with the perspective of a future EU and NATO membership, have proven to be, as I said, the best catalyst for the countries in south-eastern Europe to implement comprehensive political, economic and institutional reforms. All southeast European countries are involved in the process of stabilization and are oriented towards the realization of a society with developed markets, democratic and market-oriented standards, to the rule of law, Euro-Atlantic integration, as well as to achieving good neighbourly relations.

And cooperation in the neighbourhood is not only an obligation that arises from… from the… from… from our aspirations to become members of the Euro-Atlantic institutions; it's really in the best interests of every single country in south-eastern Europe, because the image of the region very much affects the image of every single country, and very much contributes to the overall security situation, and of course the economic prospects of each country.

However, of course, the degree of stability differs from one country to another, and should be evaluated taking into account the specific situation in every country individually. Lasting constitutional and political arrangements, which should provide for political and economic stability and security in this region, have not in some states assumed the final form, such as Serbia-Montenegro and Kosovo, or these arrangements have outlived their original purpose and goals, such as in Bosnia and Herzegovina. High unemployment, under developed economies and infrastructure, the absence of efficient legal and administrative mechanisms, corruption and organized crime, poor social prospects and low standards of living are holding back the development of economic and social self-sustainability of some states of the region.

Regional cooperation is an important component of stability. This cooperation should be forward-looking, based on common Euro-Atlantic aspirations. In this context, open issues should be settled, such as the return of refugees and displaced persons, missing persons, the responsibility for war crimes, settling property issues, etcetera. In that regard, let me point out the… also the role of the OSCE in the context of the refugee return, the… the very important trilateral Sarajevo agreement on comprehensive return of refugees signed between Croatia, Serbia, and Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina with a goal to settle these… the… these issues until the end of 2006, which sets a definite time framework, but also the role that Dimitrij has mentioned in monitoring the war crimes that our own judiciary will be taking over from the ICTY.

For us it's… it's an issue of utmost importance, not only to begin negotiations to open accession negotiations with the European Union, but to close this chapter. The ICTY for us is a legal means of establishing individual guilt for war crimes, to avoid the mistakes that were made in the past, putting collective guilt on entire nations and… and ethic groups.

And also for us it's also the… the means of resolving the issues of final normalization of relations and of the… to provide really conditions for… for human security of every single individual who returns to the place of their origin. And in this way I would really commend the role of the OSCE, of the European Commission, and of everyone else who is participating in this process.

Croatia of course shares the same goals as the ICTY, and we hope that the… the last remaining issue that we have will be resolved soon to… to… in the mutual interest and based… based on the mutual agenda.

Croatia strongly supports its neighbours, Serbia and Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, in joining the PFP. However, of course, we insist that the same conditions are fulfilled, and that there are no exceptions in that regard. We also participate in the NATO program for facilitating the defence reforms in Serbia and Montenegro.

Let me underline the example of a very successful trilateral cooperation between Croatia, Albania and Macedonia in the framework of the US Adriatic Charter, which will shortly result with sending a joint medical team in Afghanistan, but which… which also provides us with a forum to discuss very specific issues, the problems that we have, and how we can assist each other in resolving the problems encountered on the way to NATO membership.

Our active engagement in the regional initiatives and processes such as the stability pact, the Adriatic Charter, Adriatic Ionian Initiative, the Quadrilateral SA(?), etcetera, will continue and grow, and Croatia wants to continue assuming the role of responsibility of being, in a way, a role model, and in… in bringing and… and encouraging the… the reformist forces in the neighbouring countries as well by showing by its own example that the effort that you invest at home in the proper reform will be followed by the appropriate steps on this way to EU and NATO membership as well.

Now with some… to go to some specific problems in the neighbourhood: Kosovo. The Kosovo problem remains a very sensitive and important issue for security and stability in the central Balkans, although, thanks to the international community's involvement, it does not pose a danger for wider destabilization. There is some encouraging progress regarding meeting… meeting of standards, yet it still falls short when it comes to the return of refugees, the integration of Serb and other ethnic minorities, and particularly in securing the participation of the Kosovo Serbs within the Kosovo political structures.

We are expecting the international evaluation of the standards, and regarding the status issue we fully share the position that there can be no return to the situation prior to 1999, and that the solution for Kosovo must be European in its nature in terms of ensuring democratic development, human and minority rights, effective government, regional stability and prosperity, and the integration perspective for the region.

We will support the results achieved in direct negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina with the active participation of the international community. And in that regard, the common endeavours of the EU and the US are imperative. The process of negotiations in status issues must pay full respect to the territorial integrity of the neighbouring states.

Serbia and Montenegro: We're aware of the advances made with… within Serbia and Montenegro regarding market reforms and the latest positive development regarding Serbia's cooperation with the ICTY and the Ultura (ph) crime court process in Belgrade. We are concerned, however, that the reform-minded democratic forces are not overwhelmingly strong, and are internally divided in Serbia, and that the reform processes are weak. The results of the Radical Party are particularly worrisome, and its policies are potentially destabilizing for Serbia and its neighbourhood.

The structure and functioning of the central government remains dysfunctional, and points to the practical existence of the two separate systems within the country. It is up to Belgrade and Paul Podgoriza (ph) to resolve the issue of creating a functional federation or a functional separation with respect of existing legal regulation and international standards. Still, in our opinion, this issue is not of wider security consequence.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Advancing the internal legal and political system defined by the Dayton Accords is the basis for the further development of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This reform should ensure autonomous functioning and efficient decision making in respect to state governance, and should contribute to the consolidation of the economic sustainability of the country. Five administrative levels and over expensive state of the economy is unable to sustain, as well as different concepts of the country's main political parties concerning the constitution and political development of the country are slowing down the path of reform and the Euro-Atlantic integration process.

A clear Euro-Atlantic perspective for Bosnia and Herzegovina would encourage an act as an impetus for the development of a modern, democratic, multicultural and multi-ethnic state. To ensure such development, Bosnia and Herzegovina should carry out the outlined reforms that are a precondition for signing the stabilization and association agreement with the EU.

The Croatian policy towards Bosnia and Herzegovina is guided by respect of its sovereignty and territorial integrity. We are hopeful that the progress Bosnia and Herzegovina has made in meeting the European criteria, especially cooperation with the ICTY, will open the way to the start of the negotiations on the stabilization and association agreement before the end of this year, as well as for Bosnia and Herzegovina's inclusion within the PFP as soon as possible.

We are of the opinion that the international community, and particularly the EU, should within the process of integration negotiations encourage the reforms intended to strengthen the central government and the equality of the three constituent peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Croatia's relationship with the EU and NATO: Croatia gained the status of a candidate country for European membership last year, which made Croatia, according to the EU's own accession criteria, the most advanced country in the region in that respect. Croatia's relations with the southeast European countries and furthering of regional cooperation are one of our foreign policy priorities and strategic goals. Peace, stability and prosperity in the neighbourhood are of our vital interest.

Croatia, as a full fledged member in the future of the EU and NATO, will be able to act as an external anchor of stability and the catalyst of democratic development in the countries of southeast Europe. We have already taken our share of responsibility, and actively promote such development in the region.. A few years ago Croatia started to exchange its experience in the Euro-Atlantic integration with the countries from the region. The ever-increasing bilateral as well as regional cooperation among our police and justice officials in combating transnational organized crime and terrorism serve as an example of good neighbourly relations.

And finally, a few words on the prospects for the region. I would say that the southeast Europe is at a historical crossroads. The chances for historical breakthrough towards European standards and Euro-Atlantic integration are colliding with unsettled ethnic, political and other issues. Croatia firmly believes that the answers to these questions should be sought only through peaceful means in the spirit and on the basis of European standards.

The prospects of admission to the Euro-Atlantic integration process, and the acceptance of its standards as a foundation for building modern states, is crucial the stabilization and democratic development of south-eastern Europe. These prospects for each individual country in the region will provide additional motivation and strengthen the enthusiasm for the development of democratic standards, human rights, and the creation of a positive climate for the economic and general development of society.

In joining the Euro-Atlantic integration process, it is essential that all countries of the region have the political will, the vision and leadership to meet Euro-Atlantic standards. It takes time to achieve results, but the results will come if the process is right.

The admission of the south-eastern European countries into the Euro-Atlantic integration process on the basis of their individual merits and achievements will result in: first, the extension of the European stability zone. Individual admission of each country is a step towards closing the security gap in the underbelly of Europe; secondly, in the encouragement for enthusiasm towards further reforms; and thirdly, in the assistance to the EU and the international community for their activities in the region. Thank you very much for your attention.

RUPEL: Thank you. Thank you, Kolinda. So this is… this exhausts the list of speakers. Now we have three distinguished discussants. The first of them will be Kastriot Islami, Foreign Minister of Albania. Kastriot, please.

KASTRIOT ISLAMI (Foreign Minister of Albania): Thank you, Dimitrij. Can you hear me? Dear friends, first of all, I will be focused very briefly on the western Balkans. And before starting, I have to thank very much Kolinda that we are (inaudible)… the same view and opinions and estimation on the… on the region, and working very closely with Croatia, Macedonia, especially in the framework of Adriatic Charter, with the aim to… to become as soon as possible or to get the invitation for the NATO membership.

But I cannot start without thanking very much Under Secretary Burns for very comprehensive approach, not including thoughts, but also concrete steps in the next… in… in this year and the next year for our region. Myself, I can gladly say that, compared with the Balkans of one… only a decade ago, one should straightly affirm that the overall segregated landscape in the south-eastern Europe, and particularly in the western Balkans, is radically changing. One has to agree that it comes mainly because the countries of the region are changing, while we can… cannot forget the importance of the prompt and effective intervention and assistance of the international organization time and again.

Nevertheless, let me say that we share the same view that such a huge political change could never have become a tangible reality without the continued cooperation and concerted action among the international actors operating in the region. Inter Alias the UN, the OAC, the Council of Europe, the EU, NATO, etcetera on one side, and the governments of the host countries of the region on the other side. Despite this, it is imperative for us to embrace a more cohesive approach which would consist in a well coordinated need of acting together and complementing each other in line with international community.

The results obtained in the course of past years by acting in concert all together indicate unity of purpose and action. We are proud of… to witness great progress in the area of fulfilling the needed criteria, which led to the irreversible path of Euro-Atlantic integration. The Adriatic Charter, Albania, Croatia and Macedonia in particular, is an excellent example of our successful concerted efforts, which has to be broadened and followed by others.

Other important harmonizing factors which play a leading role in our concerted efforts are CSEP stability pact, but also free trade agreements, regional power(?) interconnection, regional private banking system, etcetera. In this perspective, we would ask for more attention, concrete and effective intervention by the international community, in particular European Union encouraging important financing institutions to back projects and programs at the regional level.

Analyzing these various status of democratic development in the region, we commend warmly the positive political accomplishment of our neighbours and partners towards integration. Inter alias, the signing of the treaty for accession in EU for Bulgaria and Romania, the ongoing negotiation for membership of Croatia, the progress achieved by Macedonia, in each law's application, and the fulfilment of condition for open negotiation in Serbia-Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Albania itself is seriously engaged in this process, and has already obtained optimist result as far as our obligation and computation of required reforms towards signing the association stabilization agreement is concerned. Beside that, my country represented Rakosar, a front (inaudible)… with all the countries in the region, both at bilateral and at a multilateral level, searching to promote confidence building and a regional approach for father integration.

Dear colleagues, I'd like at this point to draw your attention upon Kosovo and its perspective. I believe you would agree with me on the fact that the future development in Kosovo remain the most challenging issues ahead for us in term of stability and security for the whole region. One could not deny the significant progress that has been made over the last year towards the fulfilment of the standards. We strongly believe that the start of standards stabilization process by mid-2005 would lead to the commencement of negotiation for the future status of Kosovo within 2005 based on the principal of democratic and multi-ethnic society, including the return of displaced persons.

We… we don't have a formula for the… for the… for the final status, but we think that, for the moment being, there are three elements which has a large consensus: no return 99, no division, no unification. And I can add also no status quo, and maybe is just time for giving more freedom to the people of Kosovo for deciding for their future status and their European… their European future.

There is no doubt that the Europeanization of the western Balkans, timely inclusion of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia-Montenegro in the Partnership for Peace, and the process of association stabilization, by respecting the… the IFTY(?), the determination of future status of Kosovo would confidently be a decisive step forward in the consolidation of the stability, peace, and (inaudible)… in our region.

I think that the significant achievements and progress attained should not let us to (inaudible)… as we face other non-conventional threats to the regional security and stability, such as terrorism, organized crime, corruption, illegal trafficking, etcetera. In this respect, something we have done. Much more should be done in terms of cooperation and coordination of our actions in the international organization specialized in the area, NATO included. It's my good feeling and perception that we all have understood that, to win the final battle, we need to foster cooperation and solidarity among us and our strategic international partners, mainly NATO, EU, OAC, and other fora.

Let me finally conclude by affirming that the security and stability for my country, the western Balkans, the south-eastern Europe and beyond remain our unchangeable priority because it relies on the irreversibility of the European integration underway and on our commitment for acting in concert as guarantors and contributors of security, peace and progress. Thank you.

RUPEL: Thank you. Thank you, Minister. Now we have two more discussants. The first is James Elles, and the last will be Nicholas Whyte. And then we shall have, I hope, some… some meaningful discussion. Mr. Elles please.

JAMES ELLES (Member of European Parliament, and Chairman of the Transatlantic Policy Network): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will take no longer than five minutes. In the European Parliament we normally only have two, so this is a real pleasure for me.

I would first, just as a short comment, I'm delighted to be back in Are with the Swedish hosts. I did come here two years ago. I went to the top of the mountain, and then the Swedish hosts said, 'Would you like to paraglide down?' And I said, 'Why not?' So I've seen the town of Are from the air, but I can assure you that I'm not likely to repeat the paragliding experience in the short time.

That gives me, though, I think, three things though to say in this debate. Firstly is the general context, because I'd like to comment, Nic, on the 'and elsewhere' in the title. I think there's sufficient experience on the Balkans, and I don't want to go into that area. In the general context, huge changes have occurred in the last 15 years in the relations between the different institutions. CSIS had a brilliant think tank summit which was part supported by NATO last month in Wye (ph), which I contributed to. Three specific things are worth looking at.

Number one is the comments by Bob Hunter, who was saying, well, what's the fuss here between NATO and EU, where we've got a very broad basis for cooperation. And he did clarify Schroeder's remarks as saying it's not a question that he doesn't want the fact that NATO is no longer the primary thing; it just doesn't happen, and that therefore he would like to see an improvement, I think, in that context.

Secondly, a contribution by Christophe Bertram (ph), who underlined three elements which have changed fundamentally since 1989 in NATO. Number one is it's an alliance without limits, therefore enlargement and enlargement. Secondly, it's the globalization of the issues, or the shift from threats to global risks. And thirdly is the emergence of the EU as a player. And he comes up with one or two suggestions.

But equally, there's a third contribution by Jim Dobbins (ph), which is a brilliant contribution to what the wise men might say, if there were wise men around to give a view, about how the UN could focus more on post-conflict stabilization, how we might have stronger NATO-EU ties, and indeed on the EU-US dimension. And it's that which I'd like now to focus on.

The issues have indeed become more global. It's no error in thinking that economics, as we heard a little bit earlier this morning, is tied to security. We have the questions of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, the questions in the Middle East, China, environmental demographic change. These are issues where the European Union is a major policy maker, and therefore needs to be included, because for me the context in which we're working post-Cold War is that there's a linkage between economics, politics and security policy to which the institutions need to adjust.

And therefore, to the EU-US dimension. There's a wonderful opportunity at next month's EU-US summit on the 20th of June to take three specific steps forward -- nothing radical, but to build on what exists. Because as Kissinger said in Brussels two weeks ago, we now have a telephone number but we need to now know what we have to say. What is the common agenda?

And the first one here is on the economic side, not a subject perhaps normally mentioned in NATO but certainly of course in the EU, where the businesses on both sides of the Atlantic are waiting for a green light to complete the transatlantic market. The OECD will report in the next couple of days that this could bring an increase of income per capita on both sides of the Atlantic to one to two and a half percent. That, I'm told by American experts, in a $900 tax cut, which could be very useful in terms of economic management, but also I think useful for us on this side of the Atlantic. A Commission communication last week has endorsed this approach of a barrier-free transatlantic market.

Secondly, this won't happen without the involvement of the political communities on both sides, and by that I mean European Parliamentarians and the US Congress. It may be that you would think that there aren't any contacts there, but last week I was part of a presidency group of my political group, the biggest group in the European Parliament at the centre right. We now have a regular annual dialogue with the Republican Senate Policy Committee. So from Bill Friss (ph) downwards, there is a real interest by Senators to have an ongoing dialogue on issues, whether it be helping young Iranians for democracy, whether it happens to be on energy, or whether it happens to be on assistance to Afghanistan, where the drugs… anti-drugs campaign seems to have not progressed sufficiently strongly, and that therefore of politicians.

So thirdly, it means that we have to relook at the process of the new transatlantic agenda linking the EU and the US, not to remove it, not to radicalize it, but to build on it to include the political communities and to develop, if you like, a real partnership.

And therefore I conclude, Mr. Chairman, in these thinkings of how the general context has changed, the issues have changed, the EU-US. If you ask anybody, even Kissinger says that we now have to address our minds to what we do with this particular problem. I believe that if it's enhanced at the June summit on the 20th of June, not only will it help us in Europe understand better the US agenda of freedom of democracy, for which I think not only do we have to respond but we have to participate in.

Secondly, I think it'll ease the frictions within NATO and between NATO and the EU if the EU and the US understand each other better in a context of bilateral action. And last and not least, on a general political level, to think that you can have better economic well-being and sense of means of partnership between the peoples of America and Europe will mean not only will we actually really work together in the 21st century, but that NATO will continue to exist and be seen to be relevant by both sides of the Atlantic.

RUPEL: Thank you. Now we have Mr. Nicholas… Nicholas Whyte, Director of the European Program of the International Crisis Group. Please, Nicholas.

NICHOLAS WHYTE (Director of the European Programme of the International Crisis Group, and Rapporteur): Thank you, Minister, and thanks very much to Jamie Shea, his colleagues from the EAPC task force, and to our hosts for organizing this excellent conference.

I'm conscious, that I am the only non-official speaking on this panel, so I'm sure you haven't come here to listen to me. I have six thoughts which I will try and share with you in five minutes, and then we can move on to the discussion.

I have three thoughts on the Balkans and three thoughts on the elsewhere bit. My first thought is the that the EU perspective, on the whole, has worked. We see now that it has worked very well for Bosnia-Herzegovina and for Macedonia. We see that these countries are now very close to achieving the next steps in the European integration process. That's of great importance.

My organization published a briefing the day before yesterday on Serbia, arguing that the policy of conditionality has worked, that saying to people, 'these are the conditions you must fulfil before you can take the next step,' is a clear, comprehensible policy and that it has delivered results, in Serbia particularly, in the last few months. The consequence of this is that Croatia must get real about delivering General Gotovina. The consequence of this also is that Albania must deliver free and fair elections in July. But this is a clear message that has come clearly from the international community, from the EU and the US over the last few years.

My second thought is on Kosovo and the Kosovo final status. I very much welcome the report that's been submitted by Koffi Annan and by Soren Jessen Petersen to the UN Security Council this week, which it seems is likely to trigger the next steps of which Nic Burns spoke earlier. I also welcome Nic Burns' own statement last week, that the final status is going to come somewhere between the Serbian position of less than independence and the Albanian position of immediate, unconditional independence. And I hope I've read the nuances there correctly. I hope I don't read too much into the fact that you didn't use quite the same words this morning. But I was glad to see that.

I think we should be realistic about what Kosovo's post-status situation is going to be. We shouldn't look to repeat the Bosnia experience of the High Representative. The situation is very different. We shouldn't look to bring in an EU protectorate. We shouldn't look to perpetuate the UNMIK administration in a different form. What we're going to need is accountable local institutions which are subject to intensive international mentoring and monitoring. But that's not quite the same thing.

My third thought on the Balkans is also a thought on the immediate agenda for Kosovo -- not what we do next month but what should be done now. We're producing another report later this week which will contain three main recommendations to the international community. First of all, that the parallel security structures operated by Kosovo political parties should be dissolved. These are acting as impediments on democratization and impediments on Kosovo's political process.

Secondly, that the international community should relax a little bit on the decentralization of local government. It's very slow to do this in a normal country. Kosovo is not a normal country. And what's needed is a political commitment to the process. Looking for concrete results at this stage, I think, is going to be counterproductive.

And thirdly, that the Kosovars need help to work out their own position on the final status negotiations. It's a deeply divided society politically. And you know, those who follow the situation closely have seen what the recent political dialogue has been like. It's going to require friendly international assistance. And we'll be there, but we're not the only people who can do that.

My three thoughts on the wider picture are this. First of all, that sometimes we should be a bit creative in the way we approach these things. I noticed that, although everybody has said that they're very satisfied with the current institutional architecture, none of the other speakers on this panel has mentioned the Stability Pact for South-Eastern Europe. Five years ago everybody would have been mentioning it. I think that shows that sometimes things have changed.

And, you know, with all due respect to the Chairman, the OSCE, despite its engagement in Transnistria, South Ossetia and Nagorno Karabakh, hasn't actually a great deal to show for that. And let's not forget that those structures were erected, what, 15 years ago, at a time when the European Union was half its present size, at a time before Europe actually had a telephone number, which is Brussels 285-6111, for those of you who need it.

But I mean, of course we shouldn't go forum shopping, but perhaps sometimes a strategic rethink is appropriate, given the changing role of EU integration, given the changing role of the EU.

My second thought on this is that, since this is a NATO meeting essentially, let's not get hung up on the EU-NATO theology. The EU's military tasks are going to be largely restricted to the Petersberg tasks in the foreseeable future, which means that, for the heavy lifting, it is going to be NATO if anybody does it.

And I must say, although I'm not close to this debate, I've interpreted the debates over who should do what in Darfur really as an excuse for not getting involved rather than as an excuse for getting involved. I welcome of course the recent developments with the Africa Union Summit and what's going to happen in Addis Ababa this week. But I have to say the time scale of response is not impressive. We've been warning about the situation for the last 12 months, and now we're seeing concerted international action. I suppose that's always the role of the NGO.

My final thought is on how we can resolve conflicts more effectively in future. I think there are two crucial elements to this. The first is early and sustained international engagement. And again, I find the internationals have finally got the Balkans right, but it took three years in the early 1990s for that to happen. But it also requires good and timely information. Our role as a non-governmental organization is to urge the former and to provide the latter. And we will continue to do this, and I look forward to working with all of you in that process. Thank you.

RUPEL: Thank you. Now here we are at the end of the official list of speakers and discussants. And now the debate, the discussion can start. I have already one… one contribution announced, and this is Minister of Foreign Affairs of Macedonia Ilinka Mitriva (ph). Would you like to say something, Ilinka? Please.

ILINKA MITRIVA (ph) (Minister of Foreign Affairs of Macedonia): Minister Rupel, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to briefly share with you the experience of the Republic of Macedonia as a country that has been subject to the effects of the institutional cooperation we are discussing today.

If I have to make a general assessment of the cooperation and coordination of the significant number of international contributors that were, in one form or another, present in Macedonia during and after the crisis in 2001, I believe I will not make a mistake if I use the word 'remarkable.'

There were quite a few dimensions of cooperation and coordination. There was institution-to-institution cooperation, such as the one among NATO, EU, OSCE and UN. Then there was the… the nation-to-nation aspect of the cooperation, mainly between United States and EU member states. Of course I cannot exclude the civilian-military cooperation, which every so often tends to be a rather complex relationship.

But I will argue that, aside from the significance of the lessons learned during previous missions in the republic… in the region, the Macedonian success story was primarily a result of another immensely important dimension. And that was the extraordinary cooperation of the international community or factors(?) with the government, the institutions, and the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia, built on the basis of mutual trust.

Because even though there was… there was excellent strategic coordination among the international actors, which in our case indeed spoke with one voice, it was the Macedonian government and institutions that assumed responsibility for all the difficult decisions. And you all… you are all aware of the significance of the Orchid(?) framework agreement. It was the government of the Republic of Macedonia and the institutions of the system that proved their ability and capacity to handle even the toughest challenges they were confronted with. And you know that our achievements in this regard speak for themselves.

In addition, it was precisely the cooperation with the international institutions and especially the numerous aspects of cooperation with NATO and the EU, that was highly beneficial in enhancing our Euro-Atlantic integration process. The support and counsel we received from Brussels and from the NATO and EU member countries were an exceptional supplement to our individual efforts in achieving the membership status.

So, dear friends, dear ladies and gentlemen, just four years after the crisis, the Republic of Macedonia is today rightfully expecting an invitation for membership to the Alliance by the end of this year the status of candidate country for EU membership. Consequently, I believe that both the Republic of Macedonia and the international community have every right to be proud of what we have achieved so far.

Of course I would argue that we must always be careful while utilizing the lessons learned from previous missions. We must always be aware of the risks of becoming victims or even prisoners of habitual thinking and template… templates.

Therefore, as our previous experience so clearly demonstrate, the institutional cooperation, or acting in concert, has to be imaginative and resourceful in each and every future case around the world. For if we know that the unexpected always happens, we cannot just create experience; we must undergo it. And we know that the experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first and the lessons afterwards. But we apparently seem to be excellent students. Thank you for your attention.

RUPEL: Thank you, Minister. Did you expect an answer from the panel?


I was running for the last parliamentary elections in the former crisis area. This is a… and I think the half of the panelist know very well where were the former crisis area (inaudible)… And then I was the witness of a personal drama and passions and sad stories. Now, when I pay a visit to my constituency, meeting people, they are very severely criticizing the government because of the lack of the jobs, because of the lack of the visa, because of the lack of a better standard of living. They forgot, you know, the three years, that in 2001 the main question was stability and security. So we should be proud of what we have achieved in Macedonia.

RUPEL: So I shall not… not ask you once more whether this was a question or… or… or something else. Now I give the floor to Andrash Barshoni (ph) from Hungary. Please.

ANDRASH BARSHONI (ph): Thank you very much, Dimitrij. The second sentence of the title of the panel, 'How Can Institutional Cooperation Make the World More Secure?' Definitely not in a way if member or participating countries represent different positions in different international organizations. Because the debate among, or the discussion, or sometimes even the dispute, among international organization, which is obviously led by secretariats but not different because of the position of the secretariats, but they can, and you most probably will agree with me, Dimitrij, that how many times we faced at least on the European scene in different organization same countries representing different positions on the same issue. That… that's one… that's one element. And that is a very urging signal. No (inaudible)… I am talking about European things, definitely.

Secondly, I'm a bit disappointed, to be very frank, because this (inaudible)… a forum, a security forum. And we spent today at least one hour discussing the issues of Serbia-Montenegro related issues, Bosnia-Herzegovina related issues. And I remember my very distinguished panelists, friends, how disappointed they were two, three years ago when issues related their own countries' perspectives were discussed without them. And now here we are, that we are discussing issues where certain opponent positions are not mentioned, or could be not mentioned because the representatives of those countries are not here.

But even we can easily criticize or comment Mr. Ashdowne's excellent job in this way, and he has no opportunity to discuss such a question on a forum. This is not an organization; this is a forum. So it would be better to go on this way.

Last but not least, and… and certainly this is one of the key elements for the future of the Balkan, I'm definitely convinced that, as long as there will be more conditional position for Serbia-Montenegro or for Bosnia-Herzegovina, then certain countries in this partnership council from other regions which we all cover, that is not very inspiring for those countries.

I tell this because yesterday we have been talking about central Asian issues, and we were criticizing certain countries. And I'm really convinced that when we are talking about democracy, human rights, even though that there are existing problems in Serbia-Montenegro, maybe in… in Bosnia-Herzegovina, but these countries at least not less developed on the way of democracy than certain participating countries in this partnership council. And the… the question for us is whether we have single standards on our own way. Thank you very much indeed.

RUPEL: Thank you, and this was a very complex contribution, full of riddles. So only our friend Nic Burns can answer this.


BURNS: Thank you for the compliment, backhanded, whether it was or not. I would just like to say two things in answer to what you said, State Secretary. First is that the reason that there are no representatives of Serbia-Montenegro here, or Bosnia-Herzegovina, is because there was no consensus to invite them, and my country was against inviting them. We were… we were… actually, I think our position was we were against inviting them to the dinner last night but we're happy to have them here.

Why is that? Because at Reykjavik three years ago we decided that these countries would not have access to the Partnership for Peace and these meetings unless they met the requirements, which were arrest Medolich, arrest Carridich. Those are the two people who brought us and you the two and a half million refugees and 250,000 people dead between 1991 and 1995, and Sreberniza. And there's a NATO policy that they don't participate in the official sessions of the EAPC unless they meet those requirements. We believe that policy is working.

The Republic of Serbska (ph) understands that it's going to be continued… it'll be isolated in Banyaluka (ph) unless they take the step of finding Carridich. And Belgrade certainly understands that, and they're beginning to respond. And we ought to maintain the pressure on them until they do. This is an official NATO position, which we think is the right… we think is the right decision.

RUPEL: Thank you, Ambassador. Please.

SWENYOR SHEFSKY (ph): Thank you. Swenyor Shefsky (ph). I'm with the Canadian Embassy in Zagreb. And so perhaps a point of view from the coal face, as it were.

I was a little disappointed, quite frankly, that Kamal Dervish's (ph) equation of politics, economics and security was not taken up. Is this thing on?

UNIDENTIFIED: Yeah, we can hear you.

SHEFSKY: Was not taken up. What we got from the panelists was high strategy, the architecture… the institutional architecture and the need to adjust it. Now, certainly that's true, and that needs doing, and it's been a work in progress for some time. But in order to provide for stability at the regional and domestic level requires taking Dervish's equation seriously, and I haven't heard a word about that here.

It's a shift from strategy to the minutiae of how do we help governments to be stable, to engage in reform. Let me give one example.

There is very little investment in the real economy in Croatia. As a result, unemployment is very, very high. On official statistics, a restrictive ILO definition, unemployment is 14.5. On more liberal, more general statistics, it's over 20 percent. And youth employment reaches 30 percent. That's not a strong basis for labour market liberalization or other reforms that will carry Croatia forward. But no investment is taking place. And this is for a host of institutional reasons relating to the policies of various international organizations that have an impact on Croatia.

Is there coordination between these institutions on these questions? No, at least not from my perspective on the ground in Zagreb. How do we achieve that? Efforts by the World Bank, even in such simple matters as coordinating expenditures expending… projects in… in producing judicial reform have not been successful. We need mechanisms. We need pushes from governments and from institutions in order to affect that, in order to help the Croatian government go forward with a program of reform.

What's the result of all of this? The result of all of this is that support, public support, for entry into the union and accession to NATO is falling. When I arrived two years ago 80 percent of the population was in favour of accession to the union, a number close to that to NATO. Now we're below 50 percent, depends on the poll, for the union, and around 45 percent for NATO.

One has to be practical. It would have been a good idea for the… for example, to have held this seminar in Zagreb. It would have done much to inform the local population and media of NATO's interest in Croatia. Instead we're in Sweden. Thank you.

RUPEL: Thank you very much. This was a very…

SHEFSKY: …organized conference. Thank you.

RUPEL: I… I thank you very much for your comment. Perhaps Kolinda would like to say something to that.

GRABAR-KITAROVIC: Yes. Thank you very much. I would agree it's a really good point, and of course when you… when you give a presentation you're always limited by time. But the economic and social aspects -- and this is when… when I briefly mentioned that it will help countries to invest not only in political but also economic reforms and the stabilization of the markets, the… the social issues, etcetera.

For Croatia it's been a difficult path because we have mostly invested from the state budget in the realization of… of the political and all the other goals. For instance, when it comes to return of refugees, that is basically financed from the state budgets. On the one hand you have the World Bank and the IMF asking for the budget to be balanced, and on the other hand you have the political priorities that you realize that you have to finance and that you want to conclude by the end of 2006.

The second very important issue in this is really taking care that we provide conditions for sustainable development in the areas where refugees are returning. Because if… if people are going back and there are no prospects for jobs, then of course it will be one of the discouraging elements. And… and this, in my opinion, is one of the reasons why not all persons who have fled some of the areas of Croatia will return to their houses, in addition to the fact that in the meantime they… they have found jobs and… and lives elsewhere.

I think that the… the… the point that was made is something that we all should work on, and really in… in the context of the so-called human security. Because the security of… of the people who return and of conflict prevention and post-conflict dealing is not only the absence of physical fighting, but is… but is conditions for social security, for health protection, for education, for jobs and prosperity. And that is, for countries, difficult to do on their own.

Croatia has been beneficiary of the CARDS(?) program, which is aimed at the countries in the stabilization and association process, but it's mostly institution building. And now we have become beneficiary of the pre-accession funding of the European Union, the three major funds where we'll… whereby we'll make investments in the infrastructure, again in the institution building, the agricultural development, etcetera.

But also what… what is important for Croatia is that, since the areas that were affected by war were under developed even before the war, is to have the strategies for economic development of all the regions. So it's… it's a huge task, it's a huge burden for us, and we are dealing with it. And I think that what is important is that we're very much willing to share this experience, what we have gained in the process, the mistakes that we have made, and the… the… the options that can be made is to share that with our neighbouring countries as well, and in that way to contribute to the stability and the sustainable development of the region as well.

RUPEL: Thank you very much. Please.

BULDARMA JURIME (ph): Thank you very much. I'm Buldarma Jurime (ph), the Ambassador of Romania to NATO. And I want just to make a very brief comment on what… something that Pierre Lelouche said. That's something that I feel a little bit unfair, which is that NATO is in search for the missions. And I think that… that it's better to say, and it's more fair to say, that the missions are in search for NATO.

And if we look at the missions in which NATO is engaged in right now, in Afghanistan and… and we had a request from President Karzai to… to… to… to come and… and support Afghanistan. If we look at… at Iraq, we got a letter from Prime Minister at that time Alawi to ask us… to ask NATO to come to help. If we look now in… in Darfour, we have a request coming from… from Konari (ph) and from… from the United Nations.

So I think that… that it's better to… to say that NATO is… is an organization that is not demanding for missions, but the missions are demanding more for… for… for… for NATO. And this is a sign, as… as Under Secretary Burns said, I… I think this is a sign of vitality. And this is a sign that NATO is in a better shape now and is at least as… as… as useful now than it was… it was some… some 15 years ago, or before… before 1990.

So I… I just wanted to make just this brief remark to… to… to… to… to put things in order. Thank you.

RUPEL: Thank you. Thank you. Will M. Lelouche (inaudible)…

LELOUCHE: I… I want to reply to you that when I see -- and… and this is where I fully agree with… with Nic Burns -- when I see what we have accomplished in the Balkans, with now the EU continuing to work in Bosnia, I feel proud of the Alliance, and I feel proud of our soldiers, and I feel proud of the fact that, for example, it was a… it's a French officer who runs integrated NATO operation in Kosovo today. It's not easy.

Similarly, when I go to Afghanistan and I see our soldiers and I talk to the president and I… I'm proud of the fact that all of us, we are doing this job in Afghanistan.

What I'm saying… so when we are on the ground and we do the job, including the French forces, I am completely confident that the job is done and is done properly.

On the other hand, we should not delude ourselves with the fact that, you know, the topic this morning was to discuss whether these institutions were working correctly together. In many ways they not always do that. A great deal of confusion in many countries. And… and we know that. So there is no… no point in hiding it.

Second, if you look at the way NATO actually operates, and the difficulty of the Secretary General or the guys in charge to get sufficient means to do the mission -- national caveats, finding the proper number of helicopters and means to do the mission -- many time I have the feelings that, you know, as the mission come, we… we are there. There is in fact no… not necessarily a strategic agreement between the parties as to what to do it and who is going to pay for it.

That's why I believe -- but again, maybe it's my overly academic experience -- I believe it's time for us to ask ourselves how we want to tackle these issues and how we want to make the decision and who is going to make the effort. If you look at the… I remember a year ago we were lobbying -- we, the Parliament of NATO -- we were lobbying very hard to get governments to agree to send an additional two or three thousand men in Afghanistan to control the presidential election. Today we are going throughout the… the religious (inaudible)… election in Afghanistan with very, very short means. And the demands continue to add, and I'm not sure the defence budgets are continuing.

So there's a lot of talk about, you know… there's a lot of hot air about where it should go, but there is no strategic concept. And that… and… and again, when… and I don't say this to be aggressive to my friend Nic Burns. You know I… I don't belong to this category. But I hear… I hear conflicting discourse on the American side.

Again, you know, people… when I look at the map of American deployment as the Pentagon is now preparing them, and the shrinking part of Europe in this, when I look at the discussion inside the administration as to what they ought to do, whether it's unilateral plus some coalition or whether it's NATO as Nic says, I'm sorry to say, Nic -- again, this is not a very strong voice in this, but Secretary Rumsfeld, in answer to my question last February said the mission is a coalition. And… and… and I… I do not see… I have yet to see very clear choices on that.

So that's why, you know, I… I… I do the job which is mine with great enthusiasm, and I know my… my fellow MPs do it with great enthusiasm. I would want NATO to be an effective operation. I still do not see in the defence budgets of many of the parties, and the way it operates, a grand strategic objective how to deal with it and how to fix it with the other organizations. Maybe this sound too pessimistic to you, but I believe this is a reality as perceived by… by many people.

RUPEL: Thank you. Another question from this side, then we switch to the other side. Please.

UNIDENTIFIED: (Inaudible)… And I touch also an issue of institutional cooperation. Well, I will… I won't be defending EU, or NATO to that effect, because there has never been any contradiction between EU and NATO. The contradictions are between member states. As most of the membership is overlapping, quite often it's like arguing with oneself. On personal level, if you were sitting in a corner and arguing with yourself, most likely you would be advised to seek some psychiatric help. In case of institution, it's a bit different. So think maybe the background is somewhere else.

First, people in Darfour don't give a damn whether the flag is EU, NATO, African Union, whatever, because they are just dying. The same applies to different other crisis areas. So the cooperation seems to be natural, necessary, unavoidable.

I think we just… that we are in a phase in history when the nations are dividing the work. In history they used to do it by… via wars. Fortunately this time is different, because it's an issue of leadership. The number one position is occupied, whether we like it or not, globally it's US. But there a number of local, regional number ones, sub-regional number ones, and sub-sub-regional number ones. So nations position themselves to occupy a leadership position. We feel it basically on a daily basis on different levels. And that's the issue which we're talking about.

So basically, both EU and NATO are developing. They have to be developed… have to be developing because otherwise they would share the… the fate of dinosaurs if they don't adapt to a changing environment. It's not an issue of EU or NATO; it's issue of nations and issue of political will. Unless there will be political will, nothing will happen.

So I think every nation, especially those who are part of both organizations, should first look into the mirror and maybe have this discussion with himself at home, and then we can bring it to institutional level. Thank you.

RUPEL: OK. Thank you very much. Ambassador Burns.

BURNS: Harry, thanks for your comments. I… I… I agree with where you're coming from. I… I think that… that NATO and the EU have to have a clear division of responsibility. Because the EU and NATO are completely different institutions, and the EU does many, many things well from a political and economic… from the political and economic standpoint. Sorry.


BURNS: Do you…

RUPEL: Sorry.

BURNS: No, it's OK. I was just distracted for a moment. But NATO… NATO and the EU have completely different responsibilities in the world. And the EU, as… as the main funder of a lot of the good things that happen in the Balkans, I think 80 to 90 percent of the funding is now coming from the EU, and it's had a tremendously positive transformative effect on a lot of the countries that want to come into the EU, and we should give the EU its due.

But the EU cannot shoulder the military responsibility of major peace keeping operations. The EU doesn't have the money, and European countries are not spending on defence in a way that would allow the EU to play that role. There is no centre to the EU defence. There's no command. And there shouldn't be a command. Nineteen of the 27 members of NATO. We have a command, and have had for 56 years.

And so I think the problem occurs when there are people on the EU side who have this vision that somehow the EU should take over from NATO. And there you're going to find very stiff resistance from countries that are not in the EU, like the United States. Why do you want… why would you want to create an alternative NATO in EU? Why would you want to spend billions of euro to construct the same institutions that we've just built over 56 years?

So let the EU does… do what it does well, in Darfour, in Iraq, in Afghanistan. But let's not kid ourselves, if you're talking about security deployments of tens of thousands of troops or even less, it's going to be NATO that will remain the only institution that has the capacity to undertake those institutions.

And Pierre, I could not disagree with you more about what you said about NATO and about… about US views. I think… I think you just perhaps don't realize that what we've just done over the last five or six years is define a new strategic vision for this organization, which is now being implemented. And we're in the places that we want to be not because we're in search of a role, as Bogdan says, because we've never been busier because people are asking us to deploy troops to their region.

And the United States has made its choice. We're involved in all these NATO missions. But we're involved other… in other parts of the world, in southeast Asia for instance and Latin America, where NATO clearly does not have a role. So don't be surprised by that. Don't be surprised that the United States will be off doing other things.

But if you're looking for a commitment to Europe, 107,000 American troops are in Europe. Sixty years after the end of the Second World War we still provide the nuclear and convention defence of Europe, NATO through the United States, 60 years after the end of the war. I'm not sure what more we can do to satisfy… to satisfy your question, except to say I hope that this vision that somehow the EU and NATO should separate, which is very much a vision that comes out of your country -- I hope it does… it does not succeed. I hope the vision that comes out of other countries, that is we should have continued alliance between America and Europe, that succeeds.

RUPEL: Thank you.

AMYA INSEPOS (ph) (Greek Ambassador to NATO): Thank you. Amya Insepos (ph). I'm the Greek Ambassador to NATO. First of all, many thanks to the panelists for extremely interesting presentations.

I would like to come to Kosovo for a minute. Some of the panelists mentioned, when they discussed the future of Kosovo, mentioned that it's an issue that eventually could find its solution during 2005, and that in trying to find the solution Serbia-Montenegro should have… should be involved in the process. Now, Nic Burns mentioned that of course the (inaudible)… issue is always there and always strong.

Therefore I would like to ask if within the next coming months, let's say, when we are searching for the final status after the… they show the standards, and considering that we have not gone much further on the conditionality issue, what else could we do to involve the… to involve Belgrade in this issue, in order to help them… assist in finding a solution for Kosovo? Thank you.

RUPEL: Thank you. Somebody would like to respond?

WHYTE: Ambassador, I'm very glad for the question. I'd respond by saying that the conditionality actually has been producing results in the last few months. And I've got a few extra copies of the briefing we published on Monday, which I'm happy to share with you and anybody else who's interested afterwards.

I would say that what we need to be saying to our Serbian friends, and what I am saying to my Serbian friends, is this. Look, if you want to be serious about Kosovo, first of all, the international community has decided to resolve it quickly so it's up to you whether you make the internal adjustments that are necessary for you to get involved. And secondly, think about the long term. Do you really want Kosovo as part of your country dragging you down economically? Because nobody else is going to help you if you take on responsibility for it.

I think, you know, there is reality dawning in Belgrade as to what the future arrangements are likely to be. And I would say that it's incumbent on all of us to be absolutely clear with our Serbian interlocutors as to what that reality is going to be. Thank you.

RUPEL: Thank you. Please.

IVAN BAVID (ph) (Balkan Trust for Democracy): Chairman, thank you for giving the floor to a voice from civil society. My name is Ivan Bavid (ph). I run the Balkan Trust for Democracy, which is a project of the German Martial Fund of the United States. And serendipitously, I'm based in Belgrade and from Belgrade. So there's a minor presence of Serbian Montenegro through a citizen… (Laughs)… through a transatlantic organization, may I add.

I think it's by no mere chance that the Balkans are put up there in front of the elusive 'elsewhere,' because I think the concert of the US, NATO and EU working in the Balkans is to be heralded as a success of partnership. And I think, as many of the panelists have said, we are close to success. And my worry is not 2008 but actually these next two, three years to 2008. When I think we will all be candidates, some countries will be members. And as Minister Grabar-Kitarovic said, we are champion each other's movements at their own pace into the Euro-Atlantic organizations. And thus everything is in the nuance. And I also applaud the nuances of Under Secretary Burns in his recent statements. I think it's also about flexibility. The conditionalities are clear. And again, I'm convinced that all our countries who have the outstanding obligations to The Hague will meet them soon.

But as we know from, for example, the sanctions that were put on one of our countries in the region, it took a bit of time to understand that there was something called smart sanctions. We're talking about smart visas today. How do we get the youth of the region to know Europe when we know that, for example, 70 percent of Serbian students have never travelled, let alone to Bosnia and Macedonia, not even to France.

So the trust that I run has been heralded in fact by US Aid, for example, as a very good way to enhance democracy, reform, institution building. We have garnered European support. May I commend the Greek, Dutch and Swedish governments who have joined this trust after USA (inaudible)… funded the Mott (ph) Foundation. Because they see the wealth of the regional activity that we engage in in supporting cross-border and multi-country issues, from reconciliation projects to a municipal linking citizens to governments project.

And I think -- and this is one lesson I think that we should draw from the concert of the transatlantic relation here -- is that there is a lot to learn further eastwards and southwards from this experience in the Balkans. And I think we should all put our minds both in the sort of hard-nosed policy that we're engaged in, but also in what Khamal Dervish (ph) was talking about, the link between security, civic and economics -- I would add the… the third term to it -- and see what we can do further afield in… in… in the Black Sea and the greater Middle East.

May I seize this occasion to humbly suggest to our colleagues of the Adriatic Charter that, being an indigenous regional venture, that they do invite Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbian-Montenegro to join another very successful example of how the region sees that its fate is linked, although we travel at our own speeds, and how we can tend out a hand to each other to move faster.

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

RUPEL: Thank you. Anybody would like to answer this? Or shall we have another question over there? Because… Yeah.

ERIC PIERRE (ph) (First Swedish Ambassador to Sarajevo and Scopia (ph) ): Eric Pierre (ph). I was the first Swedish Ambassador to Sarajevo and to Scopia (ph) during the war.

My… Can you hear me? OK. First, many thanks to… for the organizers for… of this meeting, and for the interventions from the panelists. And the question I would like to… to go on to is I… when I served in Bosnia in the nineties we had a lot of hope for the future. But it seems today that there is still weak institutions in the country, not only in Bosnia; in the western Balkans, and the weak economic development. There's a lack of cohesion in the country. And I think one should go back and look what was went wrong in pre-Dayton or in Dayton which has caused this.

One of the questions I would like to underline is the introduction of the public (inaudible)… at a time has made it much more difficult to create a cohesion within… within Bosnia-Herzegovina, and including the… the problem of the ethnic cleansing in… in '92 is now basically permanent. It's… has not changed, both for… for Muslims who were thrown out, and also from Serbs from the western part of… of Bosnia.

And I would like to also add the question of the imprisonment of… question of… of finding Melodich and Carradich. During the time, in '96, NATO forces were about 60,000 men, and they failed for all the time there to find Melodich and Carradich. So I think NATO has to share some part of the reasons why these two war criminals have not been brought to justice. Thank you.

RUPEL: Thank you. I'll take another question from this side, and then we shall have the final round here. Distinguished representative of Spain.

UNIDENTIFIED: I… I cannot avoid to intervene (inaudible)… not now here. But I mean, when Anders was (inaudible)… to intervene. They are old friends of mine, both of them. So I'm going to come (inaudible)… the… the… the… the dialogue.

What I think that the Balkans really has been a good example of international cooperation. And… and the truth is that several Ministers from the region this morning, members of the panel or not, have inferred of the importance of the fact that without Belgrade there is (inaudible)…

I have to say to Nicholas Whyte, I mean, we know well the… the views of the international crisis group, so I'm not surprised of your views. But I think that doesn't mean that necessarily I agree with them.

But the question goes a little bit on line as Yanis, supposed the Greek Ambassador, did. I will see unique… I mean, a lot of lag with your ideas, obviously we follow with a lot of interest your interventions in the House… in the Congress in United States. There were also other intervenors there, so you… you knew very well the views of the real people who accompanied you in Washington recently.

But the question is precisely a person you referred this morning, our common colleague and friend Ky Aida. He has presented ideas of how to anchor more Belgrade during this process. The point is that, I mean, we are a little bit worried in the sense that, I mean, we are request… I mean, nobody is discussing conditionality. Nobody is discussing defence reform. But know why we have to do something.

I'm not going to… to go now on how we interpret Reykjavik, because this is in the RPC security forum. It's not a forum on ministerial. But it's another question.

The question is that, I mean, (inaudible)… we have to help the moderates, as people said here. We… we expect as well that in your visit to the region, I mean, very soon, these ideas could be passed. Ky Aida has ideas to this effect who… which come with the tremendous support in the NATO council. The Taylor program, for instance, I mean, defence liaison officer in Belgrade, they are ways of giving visibility to the moderates there. Also the Polska (ph) are in their favour at the moment. I mean, the work the (inaudible)… doing in Serbia is of tremendous importance, and we have to sustain it.

On Kosovo: On Kosovo, we see now what happens with the east enders(?), but obviously, as everybody knows, future of Kosovo lies within the European Union. And the point is in order to sustain this status, obviously with the standards, because the standards will continue, huh? The problem is how many times we have been speaking about fighting this corruption and organized crime there. I mean, is this sustainable?

So in that sense, we believe that a future of Kosovo lies also within the European Union. We have to… to be… to be, I mean, very strict as well concerning the future… the future development there. But we should not isolate Belgrade.


RUPEL: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED: Thank you very much. And reinforce Kosovo. Obviously I said… very much. And we are a little bit worried of the fact that isolating Kosovo and reinforcing the views of President Rugobar (ph). Like that, I know that this would not be like that. This is dangerous. So we have to complement one authority with the other. Thank you.

RUPEL: Well, thank… thank you. Thank you very much. We are pressed for time, so I would like to give the last word to the participants of the panel on this side, and then we shall conclude our session. Please, Mr. Elles.

ELLES: Well, I'll just finish with one comment. I think that if we feel that we want institutions to be able to work together, and particularly in the Balkans, then it's essential that in all parts those who wish to cooperate together to make this successful have the opportunity to do so. I'm the longest serving member of the budget committee in the European Parliament. We authorize the funds for the Balkans, but we have no way to talk with our Congressional counterparts as to how these funds can be properly coordinated.

I gave the example in Afghanistan. It also happens in Iraq. Therefore simply appeal to the EU-US summit on the 20th of June that you take the steps necessary to involve the political communities… the relevant political communities in this instance, otherwise we'll find ourselves going in different directions, and that would be undesirable.

RUPEL: Kolinda.

GRABAR-KITAROVIC: Thank you. Yes, just… just a few brief comments. Listening to the comments from the audience, which are more than welcome because it all… helps us all in… in dealing with these issue and in setting policies.

First I would like to point out that the… the (inaudible)… conclusions confirm the European perspective of all the countries of the stabilization and association process meeting (inaudible)… Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Albania, and Serbia and Montenegro. As someone pointed out, we're all going at our own speed. And I think this is the best possible approach, the individual approach.

So the effort that you put into the structural reform at home which are aimed at fulfilling the criteria, but first and foremost aimed at creating a better life in your own country for the benefit of your own citizens and for the stability of the region, I think that these provide a great incentive for the region to move on.

We can learn a lot from each other, and Croatia is more than willing to share its experience to assist all the neighbours and to give all the… the possible support, the political, the technical, the logistical, every kind of support to the reformist forces in all our neighbouring countries. Thank you.

LELOUCHE: Monsieur le président. Merci, Monsieur le Ministre. Just three quick thoughts. We need to improve the coordination between the various institution involved in international security. It's clear. We need to find a new legal legitimacy to do that and to intervene early, and not let the principal of… of sovereignty of domestic affairs permit the assassination of people by local governments. We need to… to bring to justice those who do this, and therefore link up these efforts with the International Criminal Court. First thing. First thought.

Second, in terms of EU and… and NATO, Nic, I am a European Atlanticist. I believe that NATO is a terrific military instrument, that it no longer does what it used to be… to do during the Cold War. But also as a European, I do not believe we should get into a division of labour in which you do the serious stuff and we do the little stuff, the civilian stuff. You do the cooking, we do the dish washing. This is not a reasonable way to address the world of strategic problem ahead of us.

So what I'm all in favour, and… and you know it. I'm one of rare one… voices in France who really value the US and NATO alliance. I really believe that, you know, this has to be balanced out a little better, otherwise we will continue to have major political division among us, and that's not good.

RUPEL: Thank you, Mr. President. Nic?

BURNS: We are optimistic that there can be progress in the Balkans in 2005 on Kosovo. Can you not hear me? We are… we are optimistic that 2005 can be a year of progress on… on Kosovo, and hopefully a year of reconciliation with Serbia-Montenegro and a year of unification in Bosnia. And we're going to dedicate a lot of our efforts to that.

My final comment: Of course we want to see NATO and the EU cooperate well and the EU play the role it should. But what… what Berlin plus was all about -- and if you want to change it, we'll have to have a major renegotiation. I don't think most people want to change it -- is that the EU will seek to borrow resources from NATO when it has to, but the EU will not seek to duplicate what NATO already has.

The vast majority of Europeans agree with that, but apparently you do not. And other people perhaps in your government do not. And that's where the argument is. But it's not much of an argument that matters because we're going ahead. The EU does not have the capacity to do what NATO does in a military sense, and should not, unless you want to appropriate billions of euro, which I don't believe your parliament and others will do.

And so let's just get it straight that NATO does do the major military operations. The EU will do the Petersburg tasks, and the two of us will be very happy. But if you're seeking a competitive relationship, then I think you're going to find a competitive relationship where you're not going to be very happy and the world is… is not going to operate sufficiently as it should. We Europeans and Americans should agree on that division of labour. Thank you.

RUPEL: Thank you, Ambassador. Mr. Whyte?

WHYTE: Yeah. Three sentences. First, I was very glad that Mr. Lelouche is keen to oppose national caveats, and I hope that you'll be saying that to your own parliament, because I understand this is still a problem in some respects with… with French deployments in KFOR.

Second, a couple of people have brought up the economic issue, including the Macedonian Foreign Minister, and the mention of the Dervish equation. It seems to me one thing the EU as the EU could be looking at here is relaxing the visa regime, which at the moment simply penalizes honest travellers and rewards people traffickers. It seems to me that what Ivan Vejvoda has been talking about in terms of smart visas is partially the way to go, but I'd much rather see people going much further along those lines.

Finally, we'll know that we no longer have to have these sessions once Karadzic and Mlladic have been arrested. Once that happens, then I think there's no question about Bosnia-Herzegovina joining PFP, there's no question about Serbia-Montenegro joining PFP, and frankly there should be no question about continued presence of the High Representative in Bosnia. That's the moment when we can declare the mission has been successful. Thank you.

RUPEL: Well, thank you. I shall conclude very briefly. I must say that I like very much the comment that came from our Estonian colleague, I think, regarding the people of Darfour not caring about acting in concert, but rather expecting… expecting some action. Indeed, I… I could see that most of us share some very important values, and this should be continued and cherished and… and protected as much as possible. Sticking together regarding the hot spots in… in… in… in the modern world is extremely important. I didn't see any disagreement in this… in this group here today regarding activities in places like Uzbekistan or Kosovo or Kyrgystan. And this is really a very, very important message.

I think that common work, or work in concert between organizations like NATO, OAC, UN, EU is irreplaceable and unavoidable. But more… more detailed report will be composed by our colleague Jamie Shea.

And so I can… I can conclude. I thank everybody for very interesting contributions, and first of all my colleagues here on this side of the panel. Thank you very much.

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