Updated: 29-Nov-2006 NATO Speeches

Rīga, Latvia

29 Nov. 2006


by the Secretary General on the Ceremony honouring NATO military personnel for service in the operational theatres of the alliance
followed by one minute silence

28-29 Nov. 2006 - NATO
NATO Rīga Summit

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Mesdames, Messieurs

Les réunions au sommet comme celle-ci sont l’occasion pour les plus hauts responsables politiques de l’OTAN de se rencontrer, de débattre des grandes questions transatlantiques à l’ordre du jour et de tracer la voie à suivre par l’Alliance. Comme vous le savez, l’OTAN est une organisation politico-militaire.

Notre fondement, notre pilier, c'est notre capacité militaire.

Depuis 57 ans – depuis la création de l’Alliance en 1949 – les hommes et les femmes servant dans les forces armées des pays de l’OTAN défendent notre sécurité, et nos valeurs, contre toutes les menaces.

For decades, they have been the guardians of the democracy and freedom we enjoy.

But this freedom cannot be taken for granted.  Therefore, today, they are also defending our security and our values far away from home. In Afghanistan, they are putting their lives on the line to bring a better life to the long-suffering people of that country, and to ensure that terrorism never again finds safe sanctuary there. In total, over fifty thousand men and women are deployed in six NATO-led missions and operations, on three continents and I want to salute those soldiers who are following this ceremony live now, in the field.

It is a privilege for us to be joined this morning by a representative from the militaries of each of the 26 Allies. Every individual present here today has served in NATO operations. They are here to represent both their nation and their fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines.

On behalf of the Heads of State and Government around this table, all the people in this room, and indeed the citizens of NATO countries, I say to you – and through you to the other men and women in the armed forces – thank you. 

Thank you for the work you are doing, and for the sacrifices you and your families have made, to help ensure our security.

Today, we also remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defence of our values.  May I therefore ask everyone to join me in a minute’s silence, to remember those who have fallen in the service of our Alliance.

Thank you.


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