|We Cannot Rest on Our Laurels|
We Cannot Rest on Our Laurels
EAPC Foreign Ministers meeting in Rekjavik, Iceland, May 15, 2002. Ope,ning Statement by NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson. Source: NATO.
Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to this meeting of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council.
We are meeting in a time of transformation. 11 September 2001 forced the world to rethink its conceptions of security and the ways it goes about ensuring it. Preserving the safety of our populations from these new threats is our responsibility and challenge.
We are prepared to meet that challenge. Over the past decade, the Euro-Atlantic community has quietly built solid foundations to preserve our security in the modern age. Through the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and the Partnership for Peace, North America, Europe and countries of Central Asia are now part of a political community that is unprecedented in its breadth, in its inclusiveness, and in its capacity to work together.
We should not take for granted the political solidarity of the Euro-Atlantic community over the past eight months. That kind of solidarity would have been difficult, if not impossible to find, not too long ago. So would have been the practical support and cooperation that Allies and Partners have demonstrated where it matters most on the ground. In the face of new threats, one of our strongest weapons has been our new relationships.
Of course, we cannot rest on our laurels. In a time of great change in security, our security relationships too must continue to evolve. It is true of NATO. It is equally true of our Euro Atlantic Partnership.
We must ensure that this Partnership retains its effectiveness and its value to all participating nations, NATO and non-NATO, also after some Partner countries become members of the Alliance. We will do that in many ways, including by ensuring that Partners and NATO members focus even more effectively on essential areas of cooperation, by better addressing particular needs and circumstances of NATO’s Partner countries, by seeking more harmony and integration between different cooperation programmes. Our discussions today should help develop that process, and give guidance for further review of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership and its adaptation at the Prague Summit.
At our meeting today, we will set the tone, and set the stage, for that Summit. To focus our common efforts. To deepen our cooperation in vital areas. To guide our transformation, so that EAPC and PfP continue to make their vital contribution to Euro-Atlantic security in a rapidly changing world.