Future of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership

Dear Secretary General,
Dear Colleagues,

It seems to he rather symbolic, that today we are holding this meeting in Reykjavik. Back in 1986, meeting here the leaders of the United States and the Soviet Union discussed security problems typical to that period. Those deliberations finally led to the end of the Cold War. Today we have an entirely different world, without the Berlin Wall, but facing new security challenges. Therefore our task at this meeting is to shape a strategy how the international community should deal with them.

A decade - long Euro-Atlantic Partnership has undoubtedly been a success story- EAPC and PfP have provided a framework for consultations and practical cooperation. It is in this broad framework that the new mechanisms of partnership and cooperation between the Alliance and non-member states have emerged - e.g. MAP, PARP, Mediterranean Dialogue, distinctive relations of NATO with Russia and Ukraine, etc. And I strongly believe that this ten-year experience of partnership has greatly contributed to the rapid and effective shaping up of the antiterrorist coalition after September 11.

Georgia welcomes NATO's open door policy. In the run-up of the Prague Summit, we are pleased to observe certain indications on possible invitees for the Alliance membership. The upcoming enlargement deserves our particular attention since we believe that the NATO expansion will only add to the security in the Black Sea area. The consolidation of the international position of the Black Sea littoral states is in line with security interests of Georgia as well of the entire South Caucasus region.

The Reykjavik meeting will be the landmark in terms of the enhancement of NATO Russia relations. Georgia welcomes the establishment of NATO-Russia Council, which will certainly increase predictability and security in the Euro-Atlantic area, thus contributing to the aims of NATO's Partnership and Cooperation Programme. It is also our hope that NATO-Russia Council will, among other issues result in an intensified dialogue on a number of outstanding problems, including regional issues.

In the light of the new challenges the international community faces, the adaptation of the partnership concept disserves greater attention. While preparing ourselves for Prague and looking for the new innovative approaches to boost the Partnership, we shall keep in mind that existing mechanisms should also be fully exploited.

Current mechanisms and tools of the EAPC/PfP represent many useful ideas to base our work on, e.g. inclusiveness and self-differentiation principles, 19+n or 19+1 formats. These consultation mechanisms of the EAPC could be extended to include yet unexplored individual, regional or functional areas- Giving more emphasis to the political and security-related issues, regional security challenges (e.g. regional conflicts) are to be mentioned in this context. This would be based on the work already

undertaken in the EAPC Open-ended Ad Hoc Groups and would ensure EAPC's more weight in terms of tackling and solving the outstanding problems.

Given the changing security environment, the PfP, too, could take new directions. It could integrate new areas, like border security, thus supporting me anti-terrorist campaign goals. We should also make full use of the concept of the PfP Trust Fund to support the Partner nations in need of painful reforms in the security sector. One way of doing this is to extend the existing PfP Trust Fund scope. This may include, but is not limited to, projects on reforming of the armed forces; retraining the retired military personnel; military base conversion; promoting effective defense planning and budgeting under the democratic control, etc.

Mr. Chairman,

And my final point would be that, since a modem civilized state is based both on accountable, democratically controlled armed forces as well as on sound political institutions, combination of the NATO and EU efforts could be instrumental in developing stable democratic societies in our countries. Both NATO and EU are developing extensive contacts with the Partners individually or collectively. Therefore, I believe that, farther progress of NATO-EU relations could be useful in developing better cooperative mechanisms and projects with Partner nations, thus enhancing the effectiveness of our cooperation. Thank you.