Updated: 11-Oct-2005 NATO Speeches


11 Oct. . 2005

Joint Assistance Exercise 2005

Opening speech by Carsten Fausbøll,
Head Civil Emergency Planning NATO Headquarters

Joint Assistance Exercise 2005 Ukraine-EADRCC-OPCW
High resolution photos

Generals, ladies and gentlemen,

On behalf of NATO, it is a great pleasure to welcome you all to Exercise “Joint Assistance 2005” here in Ukraine.

Since the adoption in 1999 by NATO Heads of State or Government of the Strategic Concept and especially after the horrific terrorist attacks against the United States on 11 September 2001, two of the major issues on the NATO agenda have been the fight against terrorism and the protection of the civilian populations against terrorist attacks with chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear agents.

To achieve the best result in these two important areas, NATO takes forward the work in close co-operation with its Partners within the framework of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and Partnership for Peace. In addition, NATO has a policy of close cooperation with other international organisations, which also have the fight against terrorism on their agendas.

Therefore, it was without hesitation and with great pleasure that NATO accepted to plan and conduct exercise “Joint Assistance 2005” hosted by a Partner country, Ukraine, and Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) the most important international organisation in the fight against the use of chemical weapons.

NATO and Ukraine have relationship since 1991 and in 1997 a formal relationship was created with the signing of the NATO-Ukraine Charter on a Distinctive Partnership. The same year the Ukraine-NATO Joint Working Group on Civil Emergency Planning and Disaster Preparedness was established. Within this framework, Ukraine and NATO have agreed to broaden active and practical cooperation in civil emergency planning.

Exercise Joint Assistance 2005 is not only an example of NATO-Ukraine practical cooperation but also an important contribution to Euro-Atlantic cooperation and the fight against terrorism. The exercise is also an excellent example of cooperation among nations in dealing with the consequences of a chemical attack carried out by terrorists and it will increase our capabilities to protect the civilian populations against such attacks and against the consequences, if they happen despite all our efforts to avoid them. We all hope that such attacks won’t take place but experience from the last four years and most recently in London in July of this year show us that we have to be prepared.

For many months, Ukraine, OPCW, NATO and many nations have been actively involved in the planning and we are now going to see the results of the planning. During the last two days when the teams and other participants have been arriving, I have noticed a cheerful, positive and professional attitude and I am in no doubt that we will have a great exercise.

It is, of course, important to achieve good technical results but I also hope that we will be able to establish personal connections and build personal networks, which are equally important during emergencies.

Finally, I would like to thank the Ukrainian authorities for hosting the exercise and for all the efforts that have gone into the preparations. I would also like to thank all participants; some have travelled quite a distance to get here. In addition, I also very much thank the governments, which have sent the teams and participants.

I wish you a successful exercise and a pleasant stay in Ukraine.

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