the issue of security in South-East Europe
During a one-day visit to Croatia, 24 June, NATO Secretary
General, Lord Robertson, met a number of high-level government
officials and was invited to give a speech at a conference on
"Regional stability and cooperation: NATO, Croatia and
South Eastern Europe".
He had meetings with President Stipe Mesic, Prime Minister
Ivica Racan, Minister of Foreign Affairs Tonico Picula, Minister
of Defence Jozo Rados, as well as with parliamentarians. Croatia
is an active Partner which joined NATO's Membership Action Plan
in Reykjavik this May. This Autumn, it will be submitting its
first Annual National Programme, which will start preparing
the country for possible future membership of the Alliance.
In the speech Lord Robertson gave at the conference on security
in South-East Europe, he stressed the positive steps taken by
Croatia to integrate into Euro-Atlantic institutions and contribute
to stabilising the region, even if challenges remained to be
addressed. He added that "Slowly but surely, a region
once notorious for brutal conflict is enjoying deepening stability
and developing democracy, and is steadily getting closer to
European and Euro-Atlantic institutions". He then stressed:
"It is my firm belief that the future stability and
security of South-East Europe will depend critically on the
willingness of the Governments in the region to deepen and broaden
cooperation with their neighbours".
The conference was held in Zagreb on 24-25 June and was organised
by the Institute of International Relations of Zagreb and the
Croatian Atlantic Club. It was sponsored by the Friedrich Ebert
Stiftung and by NATO.
Speech: Speech by NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson
at the international conference on "Regional Stability
and Cooperation: NATO, Croatia and South-East Europe"
- 24 June 2002
on NATO's South East European Initiative (SEEI)