|SHAPING A COMMON SECURITY AGENDA FOR SOUTHEAST EUROPE|
NEW APPROACHES AND SHARED RESPONSIBILITIES
September 5-6, 2003
|Mr. Vlado Buchkovski|
Minister of Defense of the Republic of Macedonia
The political changes that have occurred in the course of the past 10 years have provided us with a historic opportunity to become a part of the European community and build united and undivided Europe - Europe that will be free, stable, peaceful, democratic and developed. A significant progress has been achieved in the past decade in terms of realizing the vision for euro-Atlantic community. However, the realization of this vision has not been fully completed. We are aware that the new democracies in Europe share with their EU and NATO partners the vision of such Europe. But that is not the only thing; they also share the responsibility for its accomplishment. New Europe will not be complete without our active contribution.
We are fully aware of the fact that the process of political transitioning within the see and the process of political integration to Europe will not achieve process without challenges and risks.
For us, the EU and NATO signify institutional pillars - twins of the euro-Atlantic region. They have played an enormous role in the transition process of the new democracies and their integration to Europe. We believe that NATO remains the core of the trans-Atlantic security and European stability and that the security dimension of the EU will help reinforce NATO capacities. These mutually supplementing and reinforcing institutions represent the foundation of the euro-Atlantic community and a security framework to rely on. We therefore believe that the enlargement processes should continue in this direction. We believe that the NATO summit in Prague, also known as "the rendezvous with history", signified a major step forward to completing this historic project.
It is a fact that the post-9.11 era has brought about a number of changes in the focus on what once meant a threat to the international security, creating, consequently, many serious implications for everybody, including NATO. I fully agree with the view that Lord Robertson expressed at one occasion that the nine-eleven events did not put an end to the validity of the pre-September NATO agenda; on the contrary, they have enhanced the logic of that agenda.
NATO links the USA and Canada with Europe, guaranteeing, thus, their common security by their integrated structure with force and operations plans under one command. NATO has prevented nationalization of defense within Europe. The crisis management within the SEE, the cooperation between Europeans and Americans, the cohesion within the alliance with a strong American role have enhanced all political efforts for termination of violence. On the other hand, however, the enhancement of the European foreign and security policy represents a crucial element that adds to the trans-Atlantic alliance.
In the past ten years, no region in the world has remained intact from conflicts of any kind. Most of the conflicts usually occur inside countries and not between two states. Yet, the conflicts lead to consequences with regional dimensions.
As a nation in the knot of such a region that seemed like a boiling pot, the Republic of Macedonia felt directly the consequences of a crisis that came to the verge of a civil war in 2001, but crisis which even today shows that it takes a lot of skills, experience and professionalism in order to be fully managed. Activities that are being undertaken today by the Republic of Macedonia in dealing with the latest security challenges in one of the former crisis areas show that a lot can be learned from the partnership with NATO. NATO through its missions has been present in the Republic of Macedonia since August 2000 until April 2002. In addition, the EU mission Concordia that continued the progress of the security stabilization that should lead to self-sufficiency of the Republic of Macedonia after Dec 15, this year saw that the republic of Macedonia is capable of taking care of its own security and stability. Such partnership between the Republic of Macedonia, NATO and EU had its influence upon the region security as well.
Due to these reasons, the Republic of Macedonia has intensified its bilateral cooperation with all its neighbors, and especially with its western neighbor by participating in various regional arrangements, such as the SEDM initiative, the regional security cooperation named the Adriatic Group etc. Neighbors reigned by conflicts, weak institutions and blooming crime impose problems in the whole region, and even in a wider context. One of the largest scourges of today's world - terrorism - does not differentiate between nations covered or not covered by article 5 of the Washington treaty. Terrorism today is present in our region and we should act jointly and coordinated because the enhanced cooperation is the best respond and the best preventive measure against terrorism as a threat to the region and as a global evil. Republic of Macedonia has been an active recipient of international assistance and support. But at the same time it has actively contributed with its own force to international missions, which provided the arm members with rich invaluable experience. We intend to incorporate the participants of these missions after each rotation into arm units so that they infect the other arm members with their experience.
We need to give our contribution for completion of the historic project - building of a new international order based upon efficient multilateralism with strong institutions. We have to tackle jointly all threats to the world today. The international cooperation has become a must, and the trans-Atlantic relations indispensable. Partnership is the key to bolstering confidence, relations, goals and values that we will be ready to strive for at any moment. An active two-way system is necessary for addressing the challenges and accomplishing the possibilities not only at regional, but at a global level as well. This is the only way to turn a new leaf in the history titled "a more secure world".