Updated: 14-Dec-2006 NATO Speeches


14 Dec. 2006

Joint press conference

by NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
and President Nebojša Radmanović,
Chairman of the Tripresidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina
following the meeting of the North Atlantic Council
and the signing ceremony of the Framework Document
for the accession of Bosnia-Herzegovina to the Partnership for Peace Programme

Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia join NATO Partnership for Peace
Joint press conference

De Hoop Scheffer: Good morning. Let me start by saying that it is really a great pleasure to see the Chairman of the Tripresidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina in our midst today. What has the President done? He has signed the Partnership for Peace documents which will bring Bosnia Herzegovina in the Partnership for Peace.

And today as you all know and as the President and I have both said in the session of the North Atlantic Council which ended a moment ago, today is exactly the 11th anniversary of the signature in Paris of the general framework agreement for peace in Bosnia Herzegovina, better known as the Dayton Agreement and I think this date, by its nature, has some symbolism in it. And I think we could say that on this date Bosnia Herzegovina is now finally joining its Euro-Atlantic path, is set on a course to Euro-Atlantic integration, and I think has finally moved from the Dayton era into the Brussels era and I think that is a landmark occasion.

Of course the possibilities for co-operation will widen substantially at the moment in the Partnership. The fact that the President has been able to sign of course is a recognition of the progress which has been made in Bosnia Herzegovina in the different kinds of reform, defence reform more in particular. It is of course also true, I say again, as the President and I and the Ambassadors have underlined, that the signing of this Partnership for Peace and the entry into the Partnership for Peace for Bosnia Herzegovina does not mean that there is now no more need for full co-operation with the Tribunal in The Hague, full co-operation with the ICTY and I do think that the President and I and we entirely agree.

Let me end by saying that this of course it marks a moment and the beginning of much wider co-operation between Bosnia Herzegovina and NATO. Think about political and security policy; think about public information; think about elements related to civil emergency, border security, science and the environment, economic development, resource management - what is the basic toolbox, if I may use that word, for the Partnership for Peace. And that also of course opens the way within means and capabilities for Bosnia Herzegovina to co-operate with and participate in NATO's peacekeeping operations, crisis response, missions and operations.

So Mr. President let me also publicly congratulate you, the government of Bosnia Herzegovina, the people, with this important event - the signature of the Partnership for Peace documents. Let me congratulate you publicly and ask you to take the floor. Congratulations.

Radmanović: (Translation) Today is a special day for Bosnia and Herzegovina, for all its citizens. As the General Secretary said, it is a very symbolic day because exactly today eleven years ago a peace agreement was signed in Paris. Today dreams of many citizens Bosnia Herzegovina are coming true. The fact that Bosnia and Herzegovina is joining the Partnership for Peace program is probably one of the biggest steps that Bosnia and Herzegovina has undertaken in its path to Euro-Atlantic integration.

This is a confirmation and acknowledgement to all the people that worked hard in Bosnia Herzegovina inside the country, as well as those ones who worked hard outside the Bosnia and Herzegovina, meaning the international community. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them all. We are quite aware that this is the first and it means that we have to take more efforts towards going to Euro-Atlantic integration and we want to do so. I am quite certain that we will continue in Bosnia and Herzegovina to do reforms and we will continue with new reforms.

Fifteen years, including the four years of conflict, citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina have a right and have deserved to live in the country that has prosperity. The way and the path to Euro-Atlantic integration is open to the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Thank you once more to all of those who helped us. Thank you also to you, thank you Mr. Chairman.

Questions and answers

Q: A question for the Secretary General. (Inaudible). It's well known Bosnian aspirations are to become a member of the NATO as soon as possible. They are dreaming about 60th anniversary of NATO and year 2009. What do you think about it?

De Hoop Scheffer: Well what I think about this that's... you know my position that Euro-Atlantic integration (I mentioned it in my introduction) is the only recipe for lasting security and stability in that region. And I said, and I repeat, that Bosnia Herzegovina has set an important step to Euro-Atlantic integration. But you also know the position of the Allies that we never fix dates or timelines because it is a performance based process.

So you can never say when that will happen. It is a long road to NATO membership and I think the speed of course with which that road can be gone depends on the performance of Bosnia Herzegovina. And you... I should and I will refrain from linking any years or timelines to that, but it seems that the year you mentioned is fairly early.

Q: National News Agency of Ukraine. If possible a question to Mr. Radmanović. Mr. President, how do you feel the Partnership for Peace program will feel(?) to the inter-ethnical peace and stability in our country and have you unity of your nation around the relations with NATO?

And to the Secretary General, Mr. Secretary General how do you consider the role of Partnership for Peace program for conflict resolution? In particular, what is your stance on the recent referendum in Nagorno-Karabakh area of Azerbaijan? Thank you.

Radmanović: (Translation) I have to say that there are no ethnic conflicts in Bosnia Herzegovina. Like I said, there are no ethnic conflicts in the country and this is a confirmation, the fact that Bosnia and Herzegovina is to join the Partnership for Peace program, is confirmation that those conflicts do not exist. I believe that once we fully join the NATO, we will put an end to this story.

De Hoop Scheffer: Let me answer your question by saying that as always, also in this case, NATO and the NATO Allies are in full support of the Minsk group. You have seen the statement issued by the co-chairs of the Minsk group/OSCE statement and that is a statement I could also make for NATO and that means that the referendum will not find any recognition and is in fact unhelpful, which is also a word the Minsk group has issued. Full support for the statement by the Minsk group.

Q: Yes, to Mr. Radmanović. Mr. Scheffer already said that entering in the Partnership for Peace does not mean that you should forget about obligations concerning Hague Tribunal. And I didn't see... you promised reforms, but I didn't see mentioning the promise that you will fulfill the ICTY condition. How high on your agenda is this problem?

Radmanović: (Translation) In the conference room I mentioned three times that Bosnia and Herzegovina will co-operate with the ICTY, but I would like to repeat it. There is no citizen in Bosnia and Herzegovina and there is no individual in Bosnia and Herzegovina that is not willing to co-operate fully with ICTY. This is the official position of the presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but as well, of all the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

We know that this is not only a responsibility and obligation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but we also want to do everything that is necessary to full co-operate with ICTY.

De Hoop Scheffer: Thank you very much. Thank you once again.


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