Updated: 13-Oct-2005 NATO Speeches


12 Oct. 2005

Press point

with NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
and Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski


12/10/2005 - NATO
Prime Minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia(1) visits NATO


Audio of the press point

JAAP DE HOOP SCHEFFER (NATO Secretary General): I can say, as usual, it's always a pleasure to receive Prime Minister Buckovski here in Brussels. It's a third time we meet now. We have met in February. We've met in April, in October. So I think it's a good rhythm I think.

What is, in my opinion, the key word, the "mot clé" of the bilateral meeting I had with the Prime Minister and the meeting in the Council that... has just ended is about encouragement. I think the Prime Minister is coming here to bring a positive signal on the reform... on the reform process in Macedonia, what is happening, on defence reform.

That process has not ended, of course. And we all realize, and ambassador realizes and NATO realizes. But the first one to realize is the Prime Minister himself. We know more has to be done as far as reforms are concerned. Important elections are coming up next year; judicial reform, the ethnic representation, balanced ethnic representation. But on defence reform, the signals are positive in the other fields as well. The annual program has been presented. So NATO will discuss in the frame of the membership action plan the different chapters.

Let me stress once again that I think it's important to realize and to notice. And that's what I also discussed with the Prime Minister that, of course, for quest for Euro-Atlantic integration, the road...to NATO is a performance based process and ... not events driven. It's performance based. It's always been performance based. And that is the key and the central message also... (NOISE)

But I think I keep saying encouragement is the right word, encouragement given by the Prime Minister to me and to the ambassador in the NATO council about the performance and encouragement from the ambassadors to the prime ministers. Please go on in doing what you are doing. Keep up the momentum. I know that there were some discussions two weeks ago on the basis of a NATO schedule for summits. My message is: "It's performance based. Keep up the momentum. Don't lose the momentum in the different reforms. Don't lose the momentum in what, for instance, is taking place in defence reform, defence budgets and so on and so forth.

It was reconfirmed in council that NATO's door is open, that NATO's door remains open. I know there will be a very important avis by the European Commission soon published which is an important element. Let me also say that, of course, that we discussed the Western Balkans more in general, the Kai Eide report, the relationships more in general. The performance of the important group of the A3, the Adriatic Three relationship in the Western Balkans.

So, in brief, it was a good meeting. And the word "encouragement" is the key word. Prime Minister.


VLADO BUCKOVSKI (Prime Minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia): (INTERPRETATION):

I would like to reconfirm that we haD a very good meeting, especially at this time of great importance after the signals we received from Brussels and Washington and the NATO skepticism that was created. We have just now grouped ourselves from the shock after the unpleasant news. And we will fervently continue to fulfil the criteria and we also discussed the work of the Republic of Macedonia has done. And we've received the encouragement from our partners in Brussels.

And here in NATO the Republic of Macedonia has positive connotations as its role is valued in the scope of the regional cooperation, especially now in the period when the Kosovo status is going to be resolved. And I have just reaffirmed our determination that we will... we will welcome every solution that will respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Macedonia. And... sorry, we have offered our services in playing a constructive role in that... in that issue. And being the only multifunctional and multiethnic democracy functioning in the region.

SCHEFFER: Questions?

Q: Léon Brunean, Agence France Presse. One question for the Secretary General first and then for the Prime Minister. Secretary General, there was a scathing report today by two retired NATO generals on European defence and how they need to pool their resources and coordinate better. I'm sure you abide by most of what that report says.


BRUNEAN: Specifically, it says there's a lack of political will by the European leadership. Do you agree with that? Do you agree that it's a question of political will? And that's my question. And then for the Prime Minister, are you satisfied with the message that you are getting here permanently which is keep up the momentum, you're doing a good job, but there's nothing really concrete at the end of it? Are you satisfied with that message? Or would you like something more specific?

SCHEFFER: Let's get the Prime Minister, right away.

BUCKOVSKI: We would like more specific signals from Brussels but we are realistic. Now we expect priority of NATO. NATO would like NATO summit to be a summit of transformation of NATO. But we would like to find our part of responsibility in the period of transformation of NATO. And we're expecting next NATO summit after 2006, maybe to the end of 2007 and the beginning of 2008 to be a NATO summit for enlargement.

SCHEFFER: Let me comment on the report. You know this report was prepared in consultation with many people, including people here in NATO. I see it as a strong signal of support for what I call, what we call NATO's transformation agenda. If I see what's in the report, more deployable and effective forces, new approaches to funding, more common funding, closer cooperation with the European Union, it is as if they have written my agenda. So in that respect, I think it's a support underlying what NATO's transformation is all about.

If they talk about defence budgets, you know my line as well. It has been aligned with many of my predecessors. I think if you restructure defence, if you want new approaches to defence, it's should be adequately funded. And... and that is not the case in many... I should, of course, not mention Macedonia.

Let me mention that when I look at Macedonia I'm much less critical. I'm positive. I'm critical about allies or many allies as you know. I think the political will is there. I think it's not a lack of political will. And I know as well as anybody that there's always great competition between defence and social affairs and health care and education in any nation. But... there is a "but" here, I think that if I look into the future I cannot deny and I will not deny... I'll keep up, let's say, my comments that restructuring defence, this permanent transformation process of a NATO which is ready for new threats and new challenges requires the money as well. But I mean, in general, I see the report as a positive signal of underlining what the Alliance is at the moment up to.


Mister Scheffer, regarding the situation in Kosovo, and I would say, the new... : "Is there any new conditional new arguments that the Republic of Macedonia can use in order to facilitate its pact to NATO? And can you tell us what is to be done regarding our membership to NATO?

SCHEFFER: Well, there are no new arguments. I think that the Prime Minister and I fully agree there are no new arguments. And we are not in need for a new argument because the road map is clear, the process is clear, the need for reform is clear, the positive signal is clear. Because it is going well with the reforms. I mean...


UNIDENTIFIED: Do you think that the constructive role of Macedonia will assist us in approaching NATO....


UNIDENTIFIED: ... regarding the Kosovo status?

SCHEFFER: Well, let me say on Kosovo where NATO, of course, has a keen interest. Given the fact that we're there with 17,000 forces in KFOR, NATO in Kosovo is creating a climate of stability and security in which the very important period Kosovo is entering can take place. I mean, we have seen the Eide report. We might see the nomination by Secretary General of the United Nations, of a status envoy. So NATO is, of course, very keen also about the political process, not only... not only about security and stability. The status envoy will lead that process. What is important is, let's say, the stabilizing role and the important role that other nations in that region are playing and will play. And in that respect, it is, of course, very, very important that Macedonia plays a constructive role which it is playing.


MODERATOR: One last question.


INTERPRETER: Question for the Prime Minister Buckovsky. Is it after these messages you received, you're thinking about the rearrangements of our missions, foreign missions. That's the main problem in NATO nowadays.


INTERPRETER: No, we're going to continue to be part of the anti-terrorist coalition that is led by NATO as we are doing in Afghanistan, especially in Iraq which is led by the British. And the NATO role has resumed in this period. I don't see any good reason ...


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