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4 October 1995 - Address by Secretary General of NATO

Miscellaneous Directory

From: Chris Scheurweghs <>




SECRETARY GENERAL CLAES: "There will be no peace in Bosnia and the Balkans, and perhaps no stability in the wider Europe if NATO and its leading member, the United States, are not prepared to do their part in making this a reality."

WASHINGTON DC: The Secretary General of NATA, Mr. Willy Claes, said on Wednesday that "if we want to translate our success in Operation Deliberate Force into a permanent achievement, if we want to see both a secure and independent Bosnia and stability throughout the Balkans, we will need a NATO peace implementation force ON THE GROUND to make a settlement secure". Speaking on the National Press Club during a visit to the United States, he appealed for American participation in a NATO-led peace implementation force, while assuring his audience that "NATO troops will NOT be asked to fight a war in the Balkans on behalf of one side against another ...we will go in only if the Bosnian Government is satisfied with the peace settlement and wants us to be there, and only if all the parties have signed and pledged to respect the agreement as well".

Mr. Claes also underlined that "this will be a NATO-led operation, under NATO command and with robust rules of engagement ... we will be prepared to deal swiftly and effectively with any local stances of non-compliance to the agreement ... Indeed, it is better to go in with adequate force or not at all". The Secretary General also pointed out that "we will have an exit strategy ... This will NOT be an open-ended commitment". He acknowledged that "many Americans are asking why it is necessary for the United States to participate on the ground in such an operation" but stressed that "there will NOT be an independent Bosnia unless NATO does the job of securing the peace". He also affirmed that the United States' European Allies "will do their share on the ground, at sea and in the air, as they have been doing for over three years now". Mr. Claes believed that "the United States cannot fail to participate in such an operation without doing real damage to NATO and to American's position in Europe ... This Alliance simply cannot but be affected if its leading member does not play a substantial role in an operation of such critical importance to the peace and stability of Europe, and share equally in the burden of risks and responsibilities . This Alliance is too important to America's global role and strategic interests to allow it to be damaged ... You may yet need a strong NATO in a world of so much uncertainty and instability".

The Secretary General also addressed the future enlargement of the Alliance, calling this "an exercise not in charity but in enlightened self-interest" as he believed that NATO enlargement would both "reduce the future risks to our own security" as well as "over time increase significantly the resources and capabilities available to NATO's collective defence and new missions, thus sharing burdens more broadly". However, he warned his audience that "to state firmly the principle of enlargement is not to imply that it can happen immediately or going to make a net contribution to our common defence as well as new missions; in short they must also be providers of security". At the same time, Mr. Claes stressed that "NATO's recently completed study on enlargement had underlined the costs and changes NATO will have to face internally. In particular "the extension of an empty or half-hearted security guarantee will not only do nothing for Central and Eastern Europe: it will also mean the end of NATO, for once one Ally's security is no longer the same as another's, the trust and solidarity on which NATO is based would soon crumble". Consequently, "there is no cost free enlargement option ... It is in the interest of both to join NATO - that we do not rush prematurely into decisions on the "who" and "when" of NATO enlargement. This is a process which must be handled gradually and deliberately".

Finally, the Secretary General emphasized NATO's earnestness in seeking closer cooperation with Russia. He said that "our offer of partnership with Russia is not intended as a consolation prize; it is a genuine offer which fully takes account of Russia's weight and seize in European security and which gives Russia concrete benefits - the benefits of a unique special relationship with NATO, of information exchange, consultations, and concrete cooperation with us". Mr. Claes expressed the hope that "as our cooperation with Russia begins to develop, this great nation will overcome its somewhat irrational suspicions of the Alliance and understand better the true and profound nature of NATO's transformation over the past six years. Certainly in treating Russia like a genuine partner and consulting openly and frequently with her, NATO will do all it can to accelerate this evolution. But the price of a close NATO-Russia relationship cannot be a Russian veto or "droit de regard" over our internal decision-making."

NATO - OTAN Tel.: (32)-2-728.4599 EXECUTIVE SECRETARIAT FAX : (32)-2-728.5229 NATO INTEGRATED DATA SERVICE (NIDS) Chris SCHEURWEGHS E-MAIL: Leopold III laan 1110 BRUSSEL, Belgium Moderator E-MAIL NATOSCIENCE: haaaj01@blekul11.bitnet of NATODATA & NATOSCI
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