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Many of Today's Most Serious Threats Are Global in Scale


Many of Today's Most Serious Threats Are Global in Scale

Source: EAPC Conference on Ten Years of Partnership and Cooperation NATO Headquarters 26 October 2001. Partnership: The Foundation of Euro-Atlantic Security: Speech by the former President of Finland, Martti Ahtisaari.

It is a great pleasure for me to be here today in this conference that celebrates the ten years of Partnership and co-operation. The title of this session: Partnership, the Foundation of Euro-Atlantic Security is a very concrete and timely one. NATO has fundamentally changed during these ten years as shown by its cooperation with non-member countries. Geographically, it has linked all countries in the Euro-Atlantic area. Politically, it has developed the notion of cooperative security.

However, when gathered here today we are looking the European Security from a completely different view point than just two months ago. I propose to divide my presentation into three main issues. First, I will touch on the changed security environment and the new opportunities and challenges it poses to the European Security architecture and particularly to NATO and the Partnership. Second, I will briefly explore the significance and contribution of the partnership to the stability of Europe. Finally, I will share some of my thoughts about the future and the next steps for the Partnership.

After the appalling and tragic attacks in New York and Washington DC a conclusion that was repeated over and over again was that the world and our perception of security has fundamentally and irrevocably changed. The scale and scope of terrorism's targeting of innocent civilians across borders and the stateless nature of the organisers represent a security challenge the likes of which the world has never seen before.

Indeed, terrorism is a good example of the new security threats that seriously challenge what is still a largely state-centred security system. Many of today's most serious threats are global in scale. In addition to terrorism, they include corruption, organised crime, drug trafficking, spreading of small arms and proliferation of mass destruction weapons. Taken together, these new threats are such that it is extremely difficult for governments to come up with effective responses. Confronted with terrorism and biological warfare the traditional military force is far from adequate. It is crucial that the military effort will be coupled with other measures, such as international police co-operation, financial investigation and cooperation and diplomacy. Therefore a crucial task for the international community is to continue improving the civilian preparedness in crisis management.

Furthermore, democracy, respect for human rights, rule of law and fight against corruption are vital. We cannot talk about security if these principles are not followed and respected in societies. I wish that the change the world experienced on 11 September would make governments seek ways to develop co-operation between democratic countries to deal with the root causes of conflicts such as alleviating poverty. Progress can be achieved only if people are made aware of existing peaceful means in addressing issues that breed terrorism. One cause, all too often recurrent, is the lack of respect for the right to self-determination that belongs to all nations.

This new global situation poses new challenges to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as a whole including its partners. How as a regional organisation can it contribute to management of threats that are global in scale? I see this seminar as a part of the thinking process that NATO has engaged itself about the threats we face and the means dealing with them. Clearly, these problems cannot be solved without effective international cooperation. It is therefore critical, above all, to improve the ways in which we cooperate and exchange information.

The second characteristic of the current European security environment is that majority of armed conflicts are not between states but within states. Conflict regions and war torn societies need long-term assistance from the international community including a presence of a stabilising force. NATO's peacekeeping operations in the Balkans have demonstrated the value of the Partnership in practise. The Planning and Review Process (PARP) has been a central tool in developing military interoperability. It has facilitated evaluation and development of the capability of forces to cooperate in crisis-management operations. One may even say that without the contribution of the PfP countries SFOR and KFOR would have not been as successful.

However, the challenge for NATO and its partners is far from over in the Balkans. I have said elsewhere that the international community must be prepared to remain involved in the Balkans for the long term, for ten or twenty years - until the job is done. The presence of international troops will be necessary for a long time to come if the region is to be stabilized.

NATO members and its Partners have a lot in common with each other, particularly the value placed on freedom and democracy. As Secretary-General George Robertson put it in the Sofia Summit on 5 October, "The new democracies have demonstrated once again that they are not fair-weather friends. They have emphasized that the Euro-Atlantic community is growing quickly from a community of shared values to a community of shared action." I agree. NATO is not only a political and culture club but it is something far more serious besides: a defense alliance and a cornerstone of European Security.

The coalition building against terrorism has opened a possibility of collaboration in other areas that would have seemed impossible less than two months ago. During the past weeks, the world has witnessed a geopolitical realignment potentially comparable to that of 1945 at the end of the Second World War or the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. One of the most visible embodiment of that change yet, was President Putin's visit to Brussels in the beginning of this month.

NATO has gradually expanded to cover the present nineteen members. But the process of enlargement cannot stop there. Several European nations have expressed an interest in joining NATO. Among the nations aspiring to membership are Slovenia, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, and the Baltic States. The other countries in the Balkans and Ukraine may be candidates in the future. I appreciate NATO's policy of open doors and its will to develop cooperation with Partner countries. It is important that every country has the right to choose its own security arrangements. However, in the context of enlargement, partnership arrangements will require particular attention and effort by NATO. This is in order to keep the arrangement relevant for countries that may be unlikely to join the Alliance early or at all.

The European Union is taking steps to improve its own civilian and military crisis management capacity, and is in so doing making efforts to improve the link between military capability and the development of more effective policy mechanisms for crisis management and prevention. As the EU develops its capabilities, we must ensure that the developments within NATO and the EU remain mutually supportive. After all, we share the same goal on both sides of the Atlantic: the enhancement of European capabilities in order to achieve a better balance in terms of US-Europe burden sharing. The presence of US troops continues to be an important element of European security overall. The Common European Security and Defence Policy, ESDP, is not about the EU developing a collective defence capability. The ESDP is about crisis management and about increased flexibility in addressing crisis situations. To be able to reach this goal we need a well-oiled EU-NATO link.

Partnership for Peace was created as one of NATO's instruments to respond to the new security environment and to manage the change after the end of the Cold War. It was grounded in practical activities in the defence-related and military field, and it facilitates the Allies' bilateral military assistance programmes. The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) was created in May 1997, responding to the need for a more visible political link between the Partners and NATO. It is important that the EAPC provides a forum for both Allies and Partners to address together the security challenges in the Euro-Atlantic region. The NATO-Russia Permanent Joint council and the NATO-Ukraine Commission were established the same year to complement the EAPC. Both frameworks were designed to take account of the unique role of the Russian Federation and Ukraine in Euro-Atlantic security.

But PfP is not only about Partners. It is also about NATO. From the day PfP was announced, it became a central feature of NATO's outreach policy and a driving force in adjusting the Alliance to the new security environment.

The EAPC has a key role in ensuring effective participation of Partner countries in NATO-led crisis management operations. Joint responses to crisis management requires more than interoperable forces. On the basis of experiences from real operations, the PfP programme has been expanded to include a Political Military Framework (PMF) for NATO-led PfP operations. The PMF enhances the Partners' roles in political guidance, oversight, operational planning, and command arrangements of these operations. It is important that Partners who actively contribute to a NATO-led PfP operation have a say in decision-making at the design and execution stage of crisis management operations.

The value of the civilian component of the Partnership, in areas such as crisis management, civil emergency planning and air and traffic management come very apparent in these new circumstances. In the fight against terrorism, dealing with biowar and in crisis management operations majority of the tasks are civilian.

NATO's partnership and co-operation arrangements are not only about increasing the capability and interoperability of the armed forces. It also has far reaching political consequences that sometimes might be underestimated. The long-term political evolution is the ongoing transformation, taking place in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe to adopt new structures, practises and culture in civil-military relations. A democratically controlled military is an essential element of any democracy.

I have been an adamant supporter of the Partnership programme since its beginning. The desire of new countries to join NATO or the PFP programme demonstrates the relevance of the Alliance and its partnership. NATO's continuing eastward enlargement means a major change for the partnership and co-operation arrangements. When several active PfP countries will become full members in NATO, we have to make sure that the partnership preserves its relevance and added value for the remaining and new partner countries. I believe that that there is a number of important issues to tackle for which the EAPC and PfP are the most suitable frameworks.

First, we want to see a stable, democratic and prosperous Russia that is truly integrated in global and European cooperative structures. As I noted earlier, in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks there has opened a new window of opportunity to move forward the NATO - Russia relationship. President Putin's visit on 3 October to Brussels marks a new milestone on the road to a more confident and mature partnership. I am looking forward to the re-invigoration of the dialogue between NATO and Russia. Moreover, I hope that Russia will fully engage in PfP since it offers the possibility of developing practical cooperation between NATO and the Federation.

Second, I believe that a central added value of NATO's partnership and co-operation arrangements in the future will be the co-operation with and support for the Balkan countries. Croatia, Macedonia and Albania are already members of the Partnership for Peace. The PfP membership of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is anticipated in the near future. Furthermore NATO has been training and upgrading the military in Bosnia and Herzegovina. NATO's long-term effort to partner with militaries in the region is a vital part of regional stability. The reform of the security sector in these countries is a key priority in order to have armed forces firmly under civilian control. PfP will help the governments in their efforts to professionalise militaries and make them interoperable with NATO forces. Improved efficiency will help bringing troop strengths down. The early entrance of the FRY and Bosnia into the PfP would enhance and complement the efforts of other international organisations in the region.

Third, we should make better use of the political instruments that the NATO has available. The EAPC provides a very useful forum for high-level political consultation and dialogue between Partners and Allies on issues related to terrorism. In the wake of the terrorist attack in the United States, I see even greater possibilities for cooperation in the EAPC. It enables the mobilisation of a long-term coalition and co-operation in practical questions such as effective border control. The Central Asian partner countries have an important yet difficult geographical position in the new strategic environment. We must be able to support their efforts and help them to deal with potentially increasing pressures on their borders.

I think none of us here today really understands the complexity of the challenge we face. The only certainty is that the vulnerabilities are legion, and protection against the full repertoire of potential terrorist assaults is unattainable. That means that improved intelligence to detect malicious intent and sharing intelligence and other information among relevant civilian and military organisations are vital. Immediate priorities should include targeting drug trafficking and money laundering in order to limit the sources of financing for terrorist groups.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The global as well as the European security systems are under a change. It remains to be seen how far-reaching and lasting impact the events of last September in New York and Washington will have in the world politics. However, the new reality should not turn our societies into closed national bastions. The biggest challenge for all countries is that we keep our societies open to cultural and religious diversity and use them as building blocks of the democratic society.


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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).