|Terrorism: Romania Decided to Consider a "De Facto" NATO Ally |
Terrorism: Romania Decided to Consider a "De Facto" NATO Ally
Address by H.E. Mr. loan Mircea Pascu, Minister of National Defense of Romania at the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in Defence Ministers session
Secretary General, Distinguished Colleagues,
This meeting bears a double significance. First, because it is the first time EAPC Defence Ministers meet after the tragic events of September 2001 and second, because we celebrate ten years since the North Atlantic Cooperation Council initiated the gradual elimination of the post-war dividing line on the Old Continent. It is therefore the first opportunity for all of us to reflect on the challenges ahead and, consequently, on how to better organise our cooperation to respond to them, starting from what we have already achieved until now. Romania, as other partner countries, expressed its solidarity and full support for the United States and NATO fight against terrorism and immediately provided free access to its air space and other Host Nation Support facilities for this purpose.
Terrorism is not a new topic on the EAPC agenda. Ever since the Cold War was over, it was brought constantly to our attention, as one of the "new" threats to security in the post Cold War environment. 11th of September 2001 marked, in a horrific way, the crossing of the separation line between theory and reality. From that day on, terrorism has become a real, concrete threat affecting equally the NATO members and partners. I am afraid that for Osama, Atta and the like, the distinction between countries covered by article V of the Washington Treaty and countries not covered by it is completely irrelevant: if they decided to make their point by killing thousands of innocent people, they would attempt to do so irrespective of the juridical status of location. That is why, immediately after that tragic day, my country has voluntarily decided to consider herself a "de facto" NATO ally and accept full responsibility in fighting international terrorism.
Right now, for instance, Romania has decided to contribute to the "follow on" force in Afghanistan, preparing a package tailored to her capacity.
The consequences of the terrorist attacks of 11th of September 2001 are, probably, deeper than we are now able to fathom. The true depth will reveal itself only in time, during implementation of the first lessons of what has happened. These lessons are both national and international. Internally, our countries have to adapt themselves organizationally, combining disaster and security aspects of a crisis in one system of response. That will require changes in legislation, which will inevitably touch upon our core values. Moreover, the Armed Forces might have to add to their initial function of deterring/repelling military aggression the function of assisting the other state agencies in ensuring internal security. The current Israeli model will probably be too much for now, but it does point in that direction. Internationally, the effect has already been the rapid qlobalisation of security. For the first time after the Cold War, we speak again of security in global terms. And the recent cooperation between the US and Russia, the archrivals of yesterday, is an important indication in that direction. Common threats need common response.
Under the circumstances, NATO enlargement is even more relevant than before the 11th of September. If we need more coherence and better coordination in the fight against international terrorism, and I think we do, then NATO enlargement should remain a priority. And the more comprehensive and sooner will be, the better.
That said, we thus reach a crucial point in our debate: has all what we were doing until now become irrelevant over night ? This question requires a both individual and collective answer. Individually - and I am speaking based on Romania's decisions - everything we decided to do to respond to the new challenge of international terrorism is to be done on top of what we were already doing ! Consequently, MAP remains the cornerstone of our integration effort and the implementation of its requirements, the material guarantee that we will be able, in practice, to cooperate with the other NATO members and candidates in our common undertakings. Otherwise, our commitment, both on the part of the Alliance and on the part of ourselves, will remain rather empty.
Collectively, the same seems to be true: the new missions for the Alliance, related to the war against international terrorism, do not annul, for instance, the peace-keeping and peace-support operations in which NATO is currently involved. It does not annul the need to defend the members either. Therefore, taking stock of and building upon what we did for the last ten years in the field of military cooperation within the North-Atlantic space, we should gear our common military activity, which will be influenced by the way we all reorganize at home anyway, in the direction of preparing ourselves to face the challenges of the new century.
We can shape this new approach by starting with the achievements of the EAPC in implementing Washington Summit Initiatives. And, in doing so, let us focus on the practical aspects of cooperation. Consequently, Romania supports the idea of a comprehensive review of the Partnership for Peace to be conducted in the first half of next year. This review should concentrate on two main issues: improving PfP training capabilities in dealing with new security risks and exploring ways to promote enhanced cooperation and dialogue among a wider range of defence and security communities in NATO and partner countries.
South Eastern Europe Initiative is already addressing this issue in a comprehensive manner. Romania fully supports the way SEESTAFF ("Framework Guidelines for the Exchange of Border Security Personnel in South East Europe") aims at achieving concrete results in fighting non-conventional threats.
By assuming SEEGROUP Chairmanship in 2002, Romania will facilitate common action, liaison and coordination, exchange of information and expertise, as well as building confidence in Southeastern Europe. In this context, it is worth mentioning that Southeastern Europe Defence Ministers will consider tomorrow, at their meeting in Antalya, a new initiative on "Defence Support to Weapons of Mass Destruction Counter Proliferation, Border Security and Counter Terrorism".
Currently, there is an increased awareness of the need to broaden the scope of consultation and information exchange on crisis situations. Decision shaping is now inconceivable without partners' involvement. Romania thinks that principles of the Political Military Framework for NATO-led PfP operations should be further applied to streamline the common effort to combat the scourge of terrorism and other asymmetric risks.