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ESDP and PfP Closely Linked for Austria

ESDP and PfP Closely Linked for Austria

Statement by Herbert Scheibner, Federal Minister of Defence of the Republic of Austria at the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in Defence Ministers session. Brussels, December 19, 2001.

Due to its comprehensive nature, the US-led campaign against terrorism has been swift and successful. It is to be hoped that the military success will not only lead to a longterm reduction of the capabilitíes of the Al Quaida terrorist network, but also serve as an unmistakable deterrent to those that expect to draw advantages from harbouring and supporting terrorist organisations.

Irrespective of that, many questions remain open and EAPC in particular could serve as a valuable forum in the search for answers. In this context, the EAPC agenda for 2002-2004 must be commended.

It is obvious that asymmetrical conflicts like the one at hand do not only call for new strategies, but also for a novel assessment of the political and legal implications - be it the definition of war, or terrorist attacks as a reason to invoke the right for self-defence. As credibility is one of the paramount strengths of the democratic international community, efforts to clarify the concept of terrorism ought to be made by all of us.

In this connection, I think that an intensification of the dialogue with countries in the strategic proximity of Europe is urgently needed to prevent the misuse of terms and any misunderstandings which themselves might cause a destabilisation.

Another question is the role of armed forces in the fight against terrorism in general. The wide range of measures, from the protection of our strategic infrastructure up to and including high-intensity warfare, makes us Europeans aware of shortcomings in our capabilities and calls for a two-pronged approach: to expand cooperation in a European context and to maintain a lasting partnership with the US. Efforts in both directions ought to be reflected in the further development of ESDP.

For Austria, ESDP and PfP are closely linked. The cooperation within the framework of the EAPC and PfP shall keep their important role, also after the Prague Summit. Interoperability of units, which the Austrian Armed Forces contribute to multinational operations, remains our highest priority.

In parallel, the same degree of interoperability is needed within the frame of the EU Headline Goal. Therefore the PARP is the substantial link between the PfP cooperation and our commitment to ESDP.

The PARP defines essential elements for a well-prepared contribution to ESDP and NATO-PfP and helps avoid duplication of planning efforts. Against this background, the development of PfP simultaneously with the NATO enlargement process will be an essential focus of the years to come.


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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).