Updated: 07-Jun-2005 NATO Speeches


7 June 2005

Opening statements

by Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
and H.E. Mr. Vladimir Voronin, President of Moldova

JAMES APPATHURAI (NATO Spokesperson): Ladies and gentlemen, the Secretary General and the President will make brief opening statements and we'll have time for a few questions. Secretary General.

JAAP DE HOOP SCHEFFER (NATO Secretary General): Thank you very much. It is a pleasure to welcome here this morning to NATO President Voronin. I may say whom I've known already for a number of years in different capacities.

It is important that President Voronin has come here because he has presented me and the NATO Allies with a paper concerning Moldova's intention to have a so-called Individual Partnership Action Plan with NATO which I think is a very important development in the Moldovan-NATO relationship.

And in the discussion we have just had in the North Atlantic Council, it became clear that the NATO Allies are ready to assist Moldova, whatever it would require, to make this happen because an Individual Partnership Action Plan requires of course a lot of discussion and talks between NATO and Moldova; requires a lot of reforms in Moldova itself; I could mention the sector of defence reform but that goes for many other sectors of society as well.

But I would underline that this is a very important ambition we have heard from President Voronin here this morning and we'll of course embark on the trajectory to make this happen.

Of course we have discussed, President Voronin and myself first bilaterally and later in the framework of the North Atlantic Council, the situation in Moldova and more specifically the Transnistrian problem.

It was reiterated by the Allies and by myself of course that as far as the Istanbul Commitments are concerned, the Istanbul Commitments entered into by the Russian Federation, it was and is the Alliance's position that all the Istanbul Commitments will have to be fulfilled completely. That includes, of course, the Russian ammunition and weapons still stored in Transnistria and that there is a direct relationship between the fulfilling of the Istanbul Commitments and the signature- the signing- ratification I should say, of the Adapted CFE Treaty--that goes for Moldova but that also goes for other nations concerned.

The NATO Allies, of course, appreciate very much Moldova's outward lookingness(?) and the way Moldova participates in operations across the borders be it in Africa or be it on the Balkans.

I think we are on the road to assisting Moldova and fulfilling its Euro-Atlantic ambitions. I know that President Voronin not only visits NATO but will visit the European Union as well.

The NATO Allies are ready to assist Moldova in reaching this Euro-Atlantic integration ambitions and in this respect I can say that President Voronin's visit to NATO this morning has been a very successful one and I can only tell you, Mr. President, that we are ready to assist and we hope that you will be able to realize your ambition for Euro-Atlantic integration.

We know that a lot of reforms, difficult reforms, will be necessary in Moldova but we are ready to help you and assist you.

Welcome Mr. President.

H.E. MR. VLADIMIR VORONIN (President of Moldova) (TRANSLATION BEGINS): Mr. Secretary General, I would like to thank you for the possibility and invitation to visit the North Atlantic Alliance and also for the possibility to see each other again. I'm very impressed on the character of our discussions with all the representatives of the NATO countries here at the North Atlantic Council.

The character of these discussions proved once again that the international and Euro-Atlantic community is very well informed on all the processing(?) ongoing now in Moldova and also these discussions have proved the availability of the Euro-Atlantic community to assist us on the developments we have in our country.

There is also full collaboration (inaudible) for ten years within Partnership for Peace, are very positive and they open us a very important perspective.

Moreover, for our citizens, NATO does not represent anymore- any fright. Especially taking into account that this cooperation was directed into a cultural and humanitarian sector.

(inaudible) the most important areas of our cooperation with NATO during all these years, I would like to mention our collaboration on diminishing anti-personnel mines, on the destruction of stocks of all type of mélange(?), also on water supplies and in scientific areas. And even today it was assured of NATO's support concerning the liquidation of chemical and pesticides remaining in the territory of the Republic of Moldova.

Of course the Transnistrian subject also- that took priority for our discussions. And especially, during this issue- concerning this issue, we have discussed the proposals of the Ukraine for the settlement of the Transnistrian conflict. Generally I understood that NATO supports this Ukrainian plan and is ready to contribute taking into account the possibilities- (inaudible) the solutions it proposes. We are very pleased and satisfied with the attention the Ukraine is proving concerning the settlement of the Transnistrian issue. This is very important for us especially because we have 465 kilometres of border with Ukraine.

Moreover, if we are going to solve our problem concerning the border we have with Ukraine, this will have a very positive consequences on liquidating(?) the negative results of the processes undergoing in this "Black Hole" of Europe--I mean especially contraband, smuggling, all types of trafficking.

Of course there will be many obstacles on the path of implementing the Ukrainian plan but in Moldova the whole society is aware of the good results it can bring for the reintegration of the country.

Analysing the results of our cooperation with the North Atlantic Alliance during the last ten years, we came to the conclusion on the necessity of upgrading it to a higher level. And in this context today, I handed Mr. Secretary General a letter of intention on elaboration and working together on an Individual Partnership Action Plan.

We hope that we'll be supported and we will work on this plan in order to cooperate to a high level with NATO and its member countries.

Thank you very much.


Q: Excuse me Mr. President, don't you mind if I will put my question in Russian because it's for Russian service and Ukrainian service of Radio Liberty. (RUSSIAN)



VORONIN: (RUSSIAN) (TRANSLATION BEGINS) Since we came into power, we have proposed four projects for the settlement of this conflict and none of them was implemented.

Now Ukraine proposed a new plan which is radically different from the previous ones. Especially I would like to mention two of the most important elements of this plan.

The first one it is, we need to democratize this region in order to settle the issue. And the fact that the Ukrainian plan does not imply and involve the federalization of the Republic of Moldova.

I would like to mention, nevertheless, that the Ukrainian plan is a roadmap for the settlement of this issue. This is not a very concrete plan with very concrete steps to be followed in this sort of idea.

During our further negotiations and discussions with Ukraine, we are going to fill this plan with the missing elements in order to come to a very positive activity according with the very acknowledged norms and standards.

We think that the peacekeeping forces staying on the territory of Moldova since 1992 is done and the peacekeepers have accomplished their job.

We believe that these peacekeepers have to be replaced with observers from OSCE(?). They have to be civil observers--not military ones. There is no reason to replace one military uniform with another one. We have to completely demilitarize this region.


APPATHURAI: Last question.

Q (BBC World Service): Secretary General first, now that Russia has completed this agreement with Georgia on the first Istanbul Commitment, will you be pressing later this week in your meeting with the Russian defence minister for a clear timetable for the completion of the second Istanbul Commitment?

And President Voronin do you see this letter- the Individual Partnership Action Plan, as a first step towards eventual membership of NATO and if so by when?

DE HOOP SCHEFFER: Let me start by answering that the position, as I said in my brief introductory remarks, of the Allies is well known. We have welcomed of course the agreement between the Russian Federation and Georgia last week on the negotiations about the Russian bases.

The same should be achieved as far as the Istanbul Commitments vis-à-vis Moldova are concerned. So my answer would be, to your question, as soon as possible.

VORONIN (TRANSLATION BEGINS): (sound very faint) Eleven years ago we started our cooperation with NATO within the Framework of Partnership for Peace.

And now we are entering a new stage, formed and shaped by the Individual Partnership Action Plan. And after we are going to implement this plan we'll discuss (TRANSMISSION ENDS)
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