NATO Secretary General George Robertson Emphasizes Bulgaria’s Contribution in Combating Terrorism in His Speech to the 39th National Assembly
In combating terrorism, Bulgaria has made a valued contribution to the battle against Al-Qaida and the Taliban and is now playing an important role in international efforts to ensure Iraq’s disarmament, NATO Secretary General George Robertson said in his speech to the 39th National Assembly.
Bulgaria is demonstrating a will, and growing capability, to make a real contribution to international security. This is a record of constructive engagement – and it inspires confidence in Bulgaria’s future role as a NATO Ally, he stated.
Lord Robertson went on to say that Bulgaria must continue to make the necessary reforms in key areas: “On the political front, these include judicial reform to improve the impartiality of the judicial system; combating organised crime and corruption; and working for the integration of minorities.
At the same time, invitees must also continue to implement reforms on the military front. Most importantly, out-of-date heavy metal armies must be down-sized and modernised. The security of classified information must be guaranteed. And sufficient resources must be devoted to all of these reforms, if they are to be fully successful.”
At the Prague summit, NATO’s nations also agreed that the Alliance will be better prepared to defend against weapons of mass destruction, reminded NATO Secretary General.
“Since September 11th, the examples of proliferation have simply multiplied – from North Korea’s withdrawal from the Non-Proliferation Treaty, to the discovery of chemical weapons in a London apartment.
The continuing crisis over Iraq’s disarmament demonstrates how central this issue has become to our security, and indeed to international stability. Which is why NATO, as the principal security organisation in the Euro-Atlantic area, must and will get engaged in defending against the threat of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons,” he added.
Last year, NATO’s nations agreed that, in the face of such new threats, old and artificial geographic restrictions on NATO’s area of operations make no more sense. That is why the Alliance agreed that, henceforth, NATO’s forces should be prepared to go wherever they are required, and to defend against threat from wherever they may come, Lord Robertson said.
“Prague set in train a number of dramatic changes. First, a new NATO Response Force was launched, to have an initial operating capability by 2004, if not earlier. It will bring together the best forces in the Alliance, from both sides of the Atlantic, into an elite and fast-moving force – a force to which Bulgaria may well be a contributor, after joining the Alliance.”
“New policies, and new capabilities - that was the blueprint laid out at Prague. Invitees face a double challenge. They must continue, and enhance, their own political and military reforms, which have helped them to achieve so much success until now. And at the same time, they must prepare to jump onto a moving train – because NATO’s transformation is both fundamental and moving fast,” NATO Secretary General stated.
“NATO membership brings with it enormous privileges. A seat at the table where key decisions are taken to shape Euro-Atlantic security. A role in the planning and conduct of major military operation. And the ultimate security guarantee of Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.
But with privileges come responsibilities. New members must play a constructive role within the NATO Council, helping the Alliance to arrive at consensus. They must be able to make a real and significant military contribution, in partnership with their NATO Allies. They must fully meet the political standards which make NATO a true symbol of cooperation, democracy and peaceful relations,“ Lord Robertson pointed out.