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Slovakia Actively Involved Within the EAPC

Slovakia Actively Involved Within the EAPC

Source: Improvement of Co-operation and Capabilities in the Fight against Terrorism and Other Unconventional Threats: Statement by Jozef Stank, Minister of Defence of the Slovak Republic at the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in Defence Ministers session. Brussels, December 19, 2001.

Mr Secretary General, distinguished colleagues, Ministers,

Active cooperation between NATO member states and candidate nations allows EAPC countries to successfully face the challenges of the 21st century. Terrorist attacks against the United States have speeded up changes in international politics, changes in the perception of and a new quality in the solutions of issues relating to global security. The events of 11th September have shown that serious challenges to peace and security can emerge anywhere in the world: no country or region is immune to terrorism. Therefore, it is important to lay the emphasis on well-functioning regional security organizations which unify our efforts in the defence of shared interests and democratic values, and in preserving stability and security. It is the EAPC this unique coalition uniting 46 countries from North America to Central Asia, which also has its irreplaceable position in this endeavour - in the fight against international terrorism.

What I regard to be of great importance is, above all, our ability to deter potential attackers from their aggressive intentions which would jeopardize international peace and security. Having said that, I am fully aware of the fact that the guaranteeing of security and stability in the world, as well as the effective fight against international terrorism, is a demanding and long-term task. It requires the active position and involvement of each state: not only in the political, diplomatic and economic areas, but also in the areas of developing effective defence capabilities for the elimination of potential risks and threats.

A shift in defence planning fundamentals is taking place: from a threat-based model, dominating in the past, to a model for the future, based on defence capabilities. Regardless of who the adversary will be, much greater importance will be attributed to the way he will fight, what assets he will use. In this sense, we speak of a new phenomenon: increased emphasis is laid on identifying an entire framework of effective defence capabilities for a timely response to potential threats. This approach has also been applied in the drafting of essential strategic documents for the area of security and defence of the Slovak Republic.

This has been the case, in particular, with the security, defence and military strategies respectively. These documents, adopted by the Parliament through a consensus of all the major political forces, have become the essential starting point for a new quality in the approach to the development of the Slovak Republic's security and defence system. I should like to underscore, at this point, that cooperation and Slovakia's active involvement within the EAPC have helped to improve our defence capabilities. Intensive dialogues with the Alliance have helped us, both in terms of substance and methodology, to orientate and focus the process of drafting the key documents relating to the reform of the armed forces.

This is particularly true with the document 'Long-term Plan Development of the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic by the year 2010', This document defines, in line with our security needs and integration ambitions, the strategic priorities and goals for the development of our armed forces in order to make them compatible and interoperable with the armed forces of the Alliance member states.

The Slovak Republic has been actively involved in UK, EU, NATO and OSCE-led peace operations and missions within whose framework our country has almost doubled its contribution this year, and plans to increase it even further in the next few years. This has allowed other countries' capabilities to be deployed in sensitive regions elsewhere. An important input on the part of Slovakia in this respect will also be the deployment of a combined Czech-Slovak unit within KFOR. This will make Slovakia the largest contributor to peace missions in the Balkans among all the candidate nations. Prospectively, we are establishing, together with Poland and the Czech Republic, a combined brigade capable of being deployed and to operate under NATO or EU command.

In this context, Slovakia has demonstrated its firm stance, from the very start, as an integral part of the global antiterrorist coalition. In addition to that, I should like to point out that, having declared its preparedness to act as a NATO member, the Slovak Republic has opened its air space for the over-flights needed by the Alliance air force. In close cooperation with NATO authorities and partner nations, Slovakia has constantly been improving its readiness and capabilities for the fight against terrorism and other unconventional threats. Inter-agency collaboration at the national level has produced a list of our national capabilities (chemical warfare units, engineering units, special task forces, medical assets and capabilities), which can be made available to other countries in their protection against an attack made with the use of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. This is meant as a specific input by Slovakia to the ways of facing the above threats.

The Slovak Republic has, together with other candidate countries, expressed its support for the Joint Declaration signed on 14th September 2001, under which the EU has committed itself to contribute to a strong, permanent and global action to counter terrorism. Eight days later, Slovakia aligned itself with the conclusions of the extraordinary European Council meeting and with the EU Action Plan for the Fight against Terrorism, whose aim was to analyse the international situation after the terrorist attacks in the U.S. and to agree upon future EU steps in the fight against terrorism. Together with other candidate countries and with the countries of the European Economic Area the Slovak Republic joined, on 8th October, the EU Presidency Declaration on the antiterrorist military operations in Afghanistan. Slovakia has equally joined other nations in supporting the conclusions of the European Council in Ghent concerning the economic situation in the aftermath of 11 September and the counter-terrorism measures. The issues of the fight against terrorism are also being addressed within the framework of the Central European Initiative, specifically by the Working Group for the Fight against Organised Crime, which is co-chaired by the Slovak Republic.

Slovakia is also, in the area of legislation, involved in the fight against terrorism. Our country has created the legislative conditions for the implementation of the EU conventions on extradition. The Slovak Parliament has already passed an amendment to the Act on the Police Force, which will allow the police to also operate in the territory of another country. This will also include work in an investigative team, providing that the respective authority of a foreign country makes such a request, or if an international treaty or agreement between the parties involved provides authorization to this effect. The Ministry of Justice and the General Prosecutor's Office of the Slovak Republic jointly organize language training of judges and prosecutors for the specialist area of terrorism. These institutions are also in charge of developing a secure electronic network for the law courts in the Slovak Republic. The Slovak Government has committed itself to work out, as soon as possible, draft legislation on Crisis Management.

In the area of monitoring terrorist activities, Slovakia has already initiated a meeting of counter-terrorist units, and in the very near future, it will also organize a meeting, in Slovakia, of directors of counter-terrorist forces from the Visegrad group countries and Austria. Our country has announced its interest in participating in the activities of a group of antitcrrorist specialists, which will be established within EuropoL The Slovak Republic has been actively involved in the international cooperation in this area also through exchanging important intelligence and by proactive diplomacy.

An important part of the fight against terrorism is that which also includes certain measures taken at international airports, border check-points and on the international border with the Ukraine. The green border protection has been enhanced temporarily on this borderline in cooperation with the Army of the Slovak Republic,

The Slovak Republic has joined the antiterrorist efforts also through the detection of resources used to finance terrorism. Slovakia is party to 11 of the 12 global international conventions signed in the area of the fight against international terrorism.

All the facts mentioned above indicate very clearly and unambiguously that the Slovak Republic does not wish to be a mere consumer, but also wants to actively contribute to this process.

In conclusion, permit me to express my conviction that the EAPC has sufficient potential to effectively respond to security challenges, risks and threats, and that it has a significant and irreplaceable position in the enhancement of stability and security throughout the world. The Slovak Republic declares unequivocally its determination and preparedness to be actively involved in this process within the EAPC.

Thank you for your attention.

 

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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).

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