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USIS Washington 
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11 February 1998

TEXT: NATO SECRETARY GENERAL JAVIER SOLANA IN BONN, FEB. 5

(Speaks to Foreign Affairs Committee in German Bundestag) (1920)



Bonn -- Javier Solana, secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization, said February 5 that the accession of Poland, Hungary,
and the Czech Republic to NATO "underlines one of the most heartening
developments since the end of the Cold War: the return of the nations
of Central Europe as our equal partners and friends."


Speaking to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the German Bundestag in
Bonn, Solana said, "NATO and EU stand for one of the crucial lessons
of the 20th century: that European unity and North American engagement
are indispensable.... Only in a truly cooperative strategic
environment can the enlargement of NATO be seen, and appreciated, for
what it is: a natural and organic part of Euro-Atlantic integration."


According to the secretary general, NATO is "firmly committed to a
strong relationship with Russia." The NATO-Russia Founding Act "and
the rapidly evolving cooperation which it has inspired, demonstrate
that NATO's enlargement and a solid relationship with Russia are not
mutually exclusive. A larger NATO and a democratic Russia are destined
to cooperate," he said.


Calling NATO enlargement a "process," not "a one-time event," the
Secretary General said that "our institutions must evolve and adapt.
And they must open up. So the enlargement of NATO -- like that of the
European Union -- is a strategic imperative. It is an investment in a
Europe permanently secure and at peace with itself."


Following is the text of Secretary General Solana's speech:



(Begin text)



Foreign Affairs Committee of the German Bundestag

Bonn

5 Feb. 1998



Speech by NATO Secretary General, Javier Solana



Ladies and Gentlemen,



It is an honor and a pleasure to address this distinguished Committee.
In my travels to Central and Eastern Europe, I have had the
opportunity to meet with many citizens and statesmen who make their
case for their country's membership in NATO. Some reflect on the past,
others focus on the future. Some employ arguments that are very
emotional, while others employ a more cold-blooded strategic calculus.


Yet to me, the most simple, and still most powerful argument was put
forward by the Polish President some months ago. He told me very
simply that his country wanted to join the Atlantic Alliance for the
same reason no current member wanted to leave the Alliance.


This story underlines one of the most heartening developments since
the end of the Cold War: the return of the nations of Central Europe
as our equal partners and friends. Today, the countries of this region
are back on the political map, with their own distinctive voice, and
are no longer the object of someone else's ambitions.


Their road back to Europe was long, difficult and dangerous. It was a
road travelled with high hopes, but often leading to disappointment
and sacrifice.


But it was also a road that demonstrated some eternal truths about the
people of these countries: that they hold deeply to their democratic
and libertarian instincts; that they are naturally a part of a Europe
from which they were so unnaturally separated for so long. They are
our Allies in defending freedom, for they have learned what it means
to lose freedom. Today, their journey back to Europe is almost
complete. Yet one essential goal still needs to be achieved: full
membership in NATO and the European Union -- two major institutions
which for decades epitomized the Europe that was foreclosed to them.
These institutions have achieved far more than increasing their
members' security and economic well-being. Both institutions have also
helped Europe to transcend its own destructive self.


NATO and EU stand for one of the crucial lessons of the 20th century:
that European unity and North American engagement are indispensable.
With unity, our continent can break the fateful cycle of mistrust and
rivalry that has haunted it for centuries. With an outward-looking and
engaged North America, a united Europe can continue to count on the
partner it needs to develop a strong and more balanced transatlantic
relationship. And with each other, Europe and North America can face
successfully the challenges of the wider world.


Membership in these institutions therefore means far more than signing
treaties or joining bureaucracies. It means participating in the most
ambitious project Europe and North America have ever undertaken: to
create the conditions for lasting stability and prosperity in the
entire Euro-Atlantic area.


For the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland to take part in this grand
project is a legitimate ambition. We have no right to deny it. As I
have repeatedly said, after 1945, when Western Europe was given a new
chance, it was given an Atlantic chance. The same chance, not a lesser
imitation of it, should now be given to the new democracies to our
East.


Opening NATO was never about righting historical wrongs. Nor was it
about gaining security at the expense of others. If enlargement was to
contribute to the security of all of our continent, we also needed to
look beyond the immediate candidates and focus on the wider Europe.
Only in a truly cooperative strategic environment can the enlargement
of NATO be seen, and appreciated, for what it is: a natural and
organic part of Euro-Atlantic integration.


Today, as we approach the parliamentary ratification of the accession
of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, we can confidently say that
the ground is well-prepared. Enlargement will make NATO stronger; it
will make Europe more secure and more united; and it will make the
transatlantic relationship better prepared to meet the challenges of a
new century.


Canada and Denmark have already cast their vote for an enlarged NATO.
Their confidence should be an inspiration to us all. And we can be
confident, because the Alliance that is opening its doors to new
members is not the NATO of the past. It is an Alliance that has been
undergoing its own process of transformation and adaptation. Indeed,
NATO has changed perhaps more than any other international
organization. Over the course of this decade we have changed our
policies, our strategies, our structures.


The new members will therefore join a new NATO: a NATO committed to a
stronger role of the European Allies through a European Security and
Defense Identity within the Alliance; a NATO also committed to the
security and stability of the wider Europe. The Alliance they will be
joining is an Alliance that has developed close relationships with
virtually every country in the Euro-Atlantic area.


Over the course of this decade, NATO has reached out to the wider
Europe, drawing dozens of countries into a common framework of
cooperative security throughout the Euro-Atlantic area. We have
established new patterns and networks of interaction -- led by the
very successful Partnership for Peace and the new political body, the
Euro-Atlantic Cooperation Council.


In Bosnia, the new NATO of partnership and cooperation has become most
visible. Under NATO's lead, 36 nations have united in a historically
unique coalition for peace. In Bosnia, Czech, Hungarian and Polish
soldiers serve alongside our own, as do soldiers from Sweden, Ukraine,
Latvia. Together, they are moving this war-torn region towards a
sustainable peace. In the efforts of so many countries and
international organizations to rebuild Bosnia we can see an undivided
Europe at work. It is a Europe with a new sense of strategic direction
and purpose -- inspired to no small extent by NATO's cooperative
policies.


Our future new members will also be joining a NATO firmly committed to
a strong relationship with Russia. We have always said that the chance
to anchor a new, democratic Russia in a new Europe is a historic
opportunity which we must seize. But we rejected the notion that we
had to make a choice between enlargement and good relations with
Russia. The signing of the NATO-Russia Founding Act last May showed
that we were right. This document, and the rapidly evolving
cooperation which it has inspired, demonstrate that NATO's enlargement
and a solid relationship with Russia are not mutually exclusive. A
larger NATO and a democratic Russia are destined to cooperate.
Membership in NATO means that for the first time in their recent
history, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland will be part of a
democratic Alliance -- and by their own free choice. They will be able
to organize their security collectively, together with like-minded
Allies.


However, membership of NATO is a two-way street. It is not enough to
enjoy the benefits of Alliance membership; our future new members also
must prepare themselves to shoulder new responsibilities and accept
obligations and costs. Are they prepared to do so? The answer is an
unequivocal "yes". These three countries have gone through perhaps the
most vigorous, detailed, transparent and demanding set of discussions
and examinations that any countries have had to go through since the
founding of the Alliance. They fully understand the obligations and
responsibilities that will be theirs to uphold upon entering the
Alliance. And they have shown consistently and without waver that they
are prepared to meet these requirements.


All three invitees are aware that they still have to make wide-ranging
adjustments. They will have to continue to modernize their armed
forces, just as they will have to continue to ensure their democratic
control. But NATO will provide a solid, reliable framework for this
long-term restructuring -- and that means a more cost-effective reform
than they would have to contemplate outside NATO.


All these adjustments are manageable. No threat forces us to spend
excessive sums on our common defense. What we want to achieve is,
first and foremost, interoperability between our armed forces. We need
communication systems that can communicate; we need to be able to send
reinforcements in times of crises; and we need our soldiers to speak
the same language. Our future new members, like NATO's present
members, will have the time and the freedom to meet the requirements
in a way that they can absorb. No one wants our new members to put
their economic reforms at risk by overspending on defense.


NATO's enlargement is a process, not a one-time event. The first new
members will not be the last. This message of the open door has been
understood. Those countries which have not been invited have already
made it clear that they will continue to press their case and to do
all that is necessary to join. Thus, the powerful incentives for
further reform, which the prospect of NATO membership has created,
will remain. Indeed, without the commitment of NATO -- and the
European Union -- to open up, we would probably not have seen the
settlement of longstanding disputes by many bilateral treaties that
have been signed across Central and Eastern Europe.


Ladies and Gentlemen,



With all the new dynamics in today's Europe, our major institutions
simply cannot stand still. In a Europe where integration has become
the defining characteristic, our institutions must evolve and adapt.
And they must open up. So the enlargement of NATO -- like that of the
European Union -- is a strategic imperative. It is an investment in a
Europe permanently secure and at peace with itself.


"What belongs together will ultimately grow together." Willy Brandt's
famous dictum was borne out in Germany. I am convinced that what was
true of Germany will also come true in Europe. I appeal to you to join
hands in the noble task of reuniting Europe.


Thank You.



(End text)