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Great Seal Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Statement to the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council
NATO Headquarters
Brussels, Belgium, December 8, 1998
As released by the Office of the Spokesman, December 9, 1998
U.S. Department of State
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Mr. Secretary-General, Mr. President d'Honneur, fellow Ministers and distinguished colleagues:

As we meet, NATO and EAPC member forces are patrolling together in Bosnia and our nations are working together in the OSCE to prevent further outbreaks of destabilizing and dehumanizing violence in Kosovo.

Increasingly, we are planning and exercising together in preparation for possible future missions.

When the Partnership for Peace was formed, there were those who predicted it would be more symbol than substance. They were wrong. The partnership we have forged in this Council is real and vital. It is making a difference today. And it is central to our vision of the Euro-Atlantic community tomorrow.

This morning, NATO Ministers met to prepare for the Washington Summit next April. There, we will chart a course for NATO's second fifty years. We have in mind an Alliance strengthened by new members; capable of collective defense; committed to meeting a wide range of threats to our shared interests and values; and acting in partnership with others to ensure stability, freedom and peace in and for the entire trans-Atlantic area.

But we will do more in Washington this April than prepare NATO for the twenty-first century. For NATO alone cannot guarantee the future we want.

Fortunately, NATO does not stand alone. It is working closely with the OSCE in Bosnia, Kosovo and elsewhere. It complements the European Union's invaluable contributions to security, prosperity and democracy. And, as this Council reflects, it is building strong relationships with every nation in Europe that shares its goal of a continent fully secure and wholly free.

The EAPC is an instrument of choice for achieving that goal. Working with our partners is increasingly a central part of what NATO is all about. And it is in the interests of every nation represented in this room that we work together to respond to crises, project stability and lay the foundation for lasting peace.

To that end, I hope our leaders will be able to announce in Washington a framework for joint crisis response operations.

I hope that we will re-double our efforts--through training, force planning and joint exercises--to improve our ability to operate together.

And I assure you that the Alliance is open to suggestions from partners on ways to improve both what we do and how we do it.

Represented on this Council are NATO members, three nations about to become NATO members, a number who aspire to such membership, and numerous others.

To all, we stress two points. First, the door to the Alliance will remain open and we are developing a robust Membership Action Plan to help additional aspirants walk through it.

Second, we are all members of the Euro-Atlantic community. As allies and partners, we must combine our individual strengths in joint missions for a shared purpose. We must strive to create in the new century an era where the law abiding are progressively more secure, the innocent protected, the lawless curbed, increasing numbers are prosperous and all are free.

That is an ambitious goal. Some would say it can never happen. But a decade ago, we would have said this Partnership Council could never happen.

Let us, then, go forward. Sure of our direction. Taking concrete and practical steps. Preparing for the Washington Summit. And committed to making our partnership a truly effective institution for dealing with the challenges we will face in the remaining months of this century and throughout the next.

[End of Document]

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