- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 12 Feb 1999, p. 386-392
- Solana, His Excellency Dr. Javier, Speaker
- Media Type
- Item Type
- A joint meeting of The Empire Club of Canada and The Atlantic Council of Canada. Today beginning the third phase of North America's involvement in European security. NATO over the last 10 years, adapting its structures and policies to take on this new role. 19 instead of 16 national flags flying at the new NATO in Washington. What this enlargement means in terms of stability and security. Canada's commitment to the principle by being the first NATO nation to ratify the accession protocols of the three invitees: the Czech Republic, the Republic of Hungary and the Republic of Poland. New measures designed to help aspirant countries meet NATO standards. Enhancing relations with all non-NATO countries across Europe. The new, positive relationship between NATO and Russia. Deepening the programme of practical co-operation. Canada's leading role within the Alliance in its relations with Ukraine. Security challenges to be faced; ensuring we are able to meet them. Adapting NATO's forces to be more flexible; carrying out conflict prevention and crisis management operations. Preparing a Summit initiative to improve NATO's response to the security challenge of weapons of mass destruction. A preview in the Balkans. NATO's role in the Kosovo crisis and what that demonstrates. Some examples of Canada's actions to keep peace. Why the transatlantic link remains so healthy, and so vital. North American and European allies working together to establish a democratic and prosperous Eastern Europe; to support the democratic transformation of Russia and Ukraine; help prevent and manage conflicts, and help combat proliferation. The Washington Summit and the Meeting of Defence Ministers in Toronto later this year as vivid symbols of the relationship.
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- 12 Feb 1999
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- Full Text
- His Excellency Dr. Javier Solana Secretary General of NATO
TRANSATLANTIC RELATIONS IN THE 21ST CENTURY
Chairman: Ann Curran, Third Vice-President,
The Empire Club of Canada
Head Table Guests
Ken Shaw, National Editor, CFTO Television and a Director, The Empire Club of Canada; Reverend Kim Beard, Rector, Christ Church, Brampton; Lula Kosanic, Student, Political Science and International Affairs, University of Toronto; MGen. Reginald W. Lewis, C.M.M., C.M., C.D., Chairman, Defence Construction Canada, a Director, The Atlantic Council of Canada and a Past President, The Empire Club of Canada; Lieutenant General Henryk Szumski, Chief of the Defence Staff of Poland; Edward H. Crawford, Past Chairman, The Atlantic Council of Canada and Past Chairman, Board of Directors, The Canada Life Assurance Company; His Excellency Ambassador David Wright, Canadian Ambassador to NATO; Professor Robert Spencer, President, The Atlantic Council of Canada; Roger P. Parkinson, Publisher and CEO, The Globe and Mail; The Hon. Barnett Danson, P.C., O.C., Consultant, former Minster of Defence and an Honorary Director, The Empire Club of Canada; MGen. Bruce J. Legge, C.M.M., C.M., KSt.J., E.D., C.D., Q.C., Partner, Legge & Legge, Past President, The Empire Club of Canada and Vice-President, The Atlantic Council of Canada; Dana Hines, Vice-President, The Atlantic Council of Canada; and Edward P. Badovinac, CET., KH, Professor, Department of Telecommunications, George Brown College, a Director, The Empire Club of Canada and a Director, The Atlantic Council of Canada.
Introduction by Ann Curran
We are, today, beginning the third phase of North America's involvement in European security. Through NATO, Canada and the United States, along with their European Allies, are actively building peace and security across the whole of the Euro-Atlantic area, spanning from Finland to Italy, from Canada to Central Asia. In so doing, NATO is helping to spread across Central and Eastern Europe the same peace, stability and prosperity that Western Europe has enjoyed for the past 50 years.
Over the last 10 years, NATO has been adapting its structures and policies to take on this new role. We will be issuing a new Strategic Concept at the Washington Summit that takes these adaptations into account, and guides the new NATO into the 21st century.
Perhaps the most obvious manifestation of the new NATO in Washington will be the number of national flags flying: 19 instead of 16. By April, the Czech Republic, the Republic of Hungary and the Republic of Poland will formally be members of the Alliance.
Through enlargement, the Alliance extends concretely the zone of stability and security it represents--just as the EU enlargement process will extend its prosperity and political stability. And I congratulate Canadians on demonstrating your commitment to this principle by being the first NATO nation to ratify the accession protocols of the three invitees.
This round of enlargement is only part of an ongoing process. At the Summit, we will unveil new measures designed to help aspirant countries meet NATO standards, and thereby enhance their prospects of admission. At the same time, we will enhance our relations with all non-NATO countries across Europe. Five years ago, NATO set up the Partnership for Peace Programme. It has already proven an invaluable means to help restructure the armed forces of countries formerly belonging to the Warsaw Pact, to help them find their appropriate place in modern democratic societies, and to engage in practical co-operation.
At the Summit, we will continue the real progress we have made towards building a Europe where military forces exist not to confront, but to co-operate with each other.
Of course, one very important partnership is the new, positive relationship between NATO and Russia. In 1997, NATO and Russia established the Permanent Joint Council. Today, only two years later, Russia and NATO consult regularly on current security issues such as Bosnia and Kosovo; nuclear safety and disarmament. We are also deepening our programme of practical co-operation. The year ahead promises even greater co-operation.
Ukraine, like Russia, occupies a crucial place in Europe. The ability of this newly independent country to survive and flourish is crucial to long-term stability in Europe.
NATO and Ukraine have developed a distinctive relationship, covering a wide range of security-related co-operation. We have developed a work programme which covers such important issues as co-operation in peacekeeping and defence reform.
Canada plays a leading role within the Alliance in its relations with Ukraine. Indeed, with the largest Ukrainian Diaspora in the world, you are well placed to do so!
These new partnerships will go a long way to building long-term peace across Europe. Unfortunately, there are still security challenges to be faced now. We need to ensure that we are capable of meeting them.
As the war in Bosnia showed us, conflicts can still break out in Europe; conflicts that not only cause enormous human suffering, but also threaten wider European stability. NATO has therefore adapted its policies and structures to carry out conflict prevention and crisis management operations.
NATO's forces have, therefore, been adapted to be more flexible. At the Summit, we will launch a defence capabilities initiative to improve the capabilities of our forces to move great distances, quickly, and then be sustained while in the field. The NATO Flying Training Programme in Canada will go a long way to improving Alliance flexibility and interoperability, and I congratulate you on it.
Weapons of mass destruction could pose a risk to our troops deployed on peacekeeping missions, and potentially to our populations. That is why we are preparing a Summit initiative to improve NATO's response to this security challenge.
In the Balkans, we are seeing a preview of how NATO will meet the challenges of the 21st century in a collective, determined and flexible manner. NATO's practical partnerships made it possible for 20 non-NATO countries to deploy and operate with NATO forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Russian and Ukrainian troops are working side by side with their NATO counterparts to help implement the Dayton Peace Accords.
NATO's role in the Kosovo crisis also demonstrates the importance of our new military flexibility. As this crisis has evolved, so have NATO's efforts to manage and end it.
After repeated violations by both sides of the UN Security Council resolutions and other international obligations, NATO decided to issue a strong warning to the parties to comply without further delay. This threat of force convinced the parties to the conflict to begin negotiations toward a sustainable peace under international mediation in Rambouillet, France. NATO fully supports these peace efforts.
To this end our planning is well advanced to help implement a peace settlement in Kosovo. If the international community turns to NATO to take on this task, we will be ready to do it. But let me be clear: We are also ready to use force if the parties do not reach a settlement and to prevent further conflict and humanitarian suffering in Kosovo.
NATO's operations in the Balkans are important not only because they help keep the peace in an area that has historically seen too little of that but they also demonstrate clearly once again what is often forgotten--that sometimes, peace requires the capability and the willingness to use force.
Canada has always believed in taking action to keep the peace. Canada was one of the first countries on the ground in Bosnia under UNPROFOR--before many European countries, in fact. And let me mention that your consistent support for the United Nations makes Canada's present tenure as the Chair of the Security Council well deserved indeed.
That commitment to keep the peace was also demonstrated when the UN mission in Bosnia was replaced by the NATO-led mission. One thousand two hundred Canadian soldiers are now serving in SFOR, and are performing to their usual high standards of professionalism and effectiveness. I praise also the major Canadian contribution to de-mining in Bosnia. And Canada is also providing personnel to help solve the Kosovo crisis, both with the OSCE in the province itself, and with the Extraction Force in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. I also appreciate Canada's willingness to contribute to a NATO-led peace implementation force in Kosovo, should the North Atlantic Council decide to deploy such a force in the days ahead.
Canadians have always believed deeply in international law and human rights. This principle is exemplified in the fine work of Madame Justice Louise Arbour, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. The parties to the Dayton Accords are responsible for arresting and turning over the persons she indicts, but NATO forces are playing an increasing role in helping to bring accused war criminals where they belong--in front of Madame Arbour, in the Hague.
Ladies and gentlemen, these examples demonstrate why the transatlantic link remains so healthy, and so vital. We must preserve this commitment, politically, militarily, and economically. As NATO takes on the increasingly complex and challenging demands of peace-building, it remains vitally important that all the Allies--including Canada--devote the manpower, equipment and funding necessary to maintain effective military forces. If we truly want to build peace and security, we must match our words with the deeds and resources to back them up. And the return is well worth the investment.
Working together, the North American and the European Allies can assist in establishing a democratic and prosperous Eastern Europe, support the democratic transformation of Russia and Ukraine, help prevent and manage conflicts, and help combat proliferation. These are the goals of the "transatlantic relationship of the 21st century." The Washington Summit and the Meeting of Defence Ministers here in Toronto later this year serve as vivid symbols of that relationship.
Throughout this century, Canada has been an essential part of the Atlantic community. Today, we stand on the threshold of a new century--a century in which NATO will help fulfil our common goals of peace and security. I congratulate Canada on the role it is playing in the Alliance today, and the role it will play in the NATO of the next century.
The appreciation of the meeting was expressed by Professor Robert Spencer, President, The Atlantic Council of Canada.