|EAPC Meeting : Considering the Changes Underway|
EAPC Meeting : Considering the Changes Underway
Opening statement by NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson at the meeting of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in Defence Ministers Sessions. Brussels, June 7, 2002. Source: NATO.
Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to this meeting of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in Defence Ministers’ Session.
Nine months ago, on September 11 we witnessed the appalling attacks against the United States. In the period following these attacks, Allies and Partners alike have demonstrated a profound commitment to unite against terrorism. As a result, our Partnership has once again proved its unique value. The EAPC has been, and will continue to be, an essential pillar of the international coalition against terrorism.
The main purpose of today’s meeting today is to take stock of our cooperation to-date and to consider what changes may need to be made to Partnership for Peace and the EAPC in order to strengthen our defence and security relationships and ensure that we have the right cooperation framework to tackle the challenges arising from the new strategic environment.
We need to do this today in order to ensure that our Heads of State and Government, who will be meeting in Prague later this year, can decide on the direction the Partnership should take. Foreign Ministers discussed these matters when they met in Reykjavik three weeks ago. Now it is the Defence Ministers' turn.
To enhance our security, we must continue to evolve. This is true for NATO and it is equally true for the Euro-Atlantic Partnership.
We must adapt the Partnership to take full advantage of its unique potential 46 countries linked by history and geography, determined to work together to banish war, to build peace and security and to enhance prosperity.
We must ensure that we continue our drive for defence reform and reform of broader security structures.
We must focus the Partnership to better address the particular needs and circumstances of individual Partners, and engage together regionally where this offers advantage.
And we need to re-examine the practical content of the Partnership to ensure that it remains relevant and valuable to all participating nations, particularly after some Partners are invited to become members of the Alliance.
I look forward to a fruitful discussion of all these issues, and I hope that this debate will guide us in our further work. It is our task to ensure that the Partnership continues to make its vital contribution to Euro-Atlantic security in a rapidly changing world.