Remarks by Assistant Secretary of State Beth Jones Harvard University

April 23, 2004

Opening

I want to thank Harvard University and the Kennedy School of Government for extending an invitation to address its 2004 Black Sea Security Program.

The Transformation in NATO and EU

This is an exciting and challenging time as Europe continues to re-think and re-define its boundaries and its identity. We've just seen the second round of NATO enlargement bringing in seven new members and the EU is about to expand include ten more countries.

Only fifteen years ago, most of these countries were locked behind the iron curtain — either as Soviet satellites or captive nations. The United States, NATO, and the EU have played crucial and complementary roles in their transformation and integration into the Euro-Atlantic community.

NATO and the EU will continue to be the core vehicles for defining the European identity. The United States and its allies have transformed NATO's mission from defense of common territory against the Warsaw Pact to a defense of common interest and common ideals, from preventing aggression in Europe to promoting freedom, extending the reach of liberty, and deepening peace beyond the Alliance's traditional areas of operation.

The EU has transformed itself from a primarily economic union concerned with becoming a single national market to a unique supranational body with geopolitical aspirations and an incipient foreign and security policy. It has become an increasingly valuable partner for the United States in promoting common goals and interests beyond the borders of enlarged EU and NATO.

The Black Sea Region in the Euro-Atlantic Community

In June 2001 during a speech in Warsaw, President Bush laid out his vision of the future of Europe when he said, "All of Europe's new democracies, from the Baltics to the Black Sea and all that lie between should have the same chance for security and freedom -- and the same chance to join the institutions of Europe - as Europe's old democracies have."

We continue to help countries in the Black Sea Region -- Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine -- achieve their aspirations of Euro-Atlantic integration. Bulgaria and Romania are now Allies in NATO, the most successful defensive security alliance in history and are making progress towards joining the EU.

Each country is different in what relationship it seeks and at its own stage of development. But, the ability to work together and cooperate with the United States is fundamental to assessing the readiness of each country to become, as appropriate, participants, partners, or members of Euro-Atlantic institutions.

In the case of NATO, its door to membership remains open — but the bar to reach it remains high. NATO aspirants must demonstrate the ability to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic Area and to NATO's core mission of collective self-defense ~ to be producers not consumers of security.

Those aspiring to join must share with current members a broad and enduring commitment to democratic values that places a premium on free and fair elections, and that respects opposition views. Values that ensure democratic control of the armed forces and transparency in defense planning. Values that uphold the independence of the media, and encourage the growth of civil society.

NATO aspirants must also show a clear commitment to a free market economy as well as broad and sustainable public support for membership. Aspirants must be accepted into NATO's rigorous Membership Action Plan, an intrusive program that requires them to undergo rigorous political, economic, military, security, and legal reform.

Finally, 1 should note that the timing of future rounds of enlargement will be determined by the needs of the Alliance and the readiness of the aspirants.

As with Central Europe, we are supporting the EU accession of candidate countries Romania, Bulgaria, and Turkey whose European orientation should be acknowledged by getting a date to start accession negotiations in December 2004.

The EU is developing a "New Neighborhood Instrument" to offer "Wider Europe" status to countries on the enlarged borders that are not currently candidates for accession, including Ukraine and Moldova.

We strongly support the request of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan to the EU for expansion of the "Wider Europe" program to the South Caucasus.

"Wider Europe" status offers those who have demonstrated a commitment to political and economic reform the prospect of a stake in the EU's internal market.

Building Cooperation, Trust, and Credibility

The ability to cooperate on a regional basis is a critical first step to assess the readiness of countries in the Black Sea region to participate as full partners in the Euro-Atlantic community.

We have seen a good start with new institutions under the Black Sea Economic Cooperation framework and renewed bilateral relationships that have begun to build bridges in the region, uncovering the vast potential for cooperation on economic, transportation, energy, and environmental issues.

As one of the architects of this emerging infrastructure and as the host to the BSEC Secretariat, Turkey has a key role to play in this process.

Regional institutions such as BSEC, the Black Sea Council, and GUUAM provide important opportunities for countries to begin to build trust. Cooperation in regional forums, however, must also be complemented with healthy and open bilateral relationships.

Unresolved conflicts are impediments to true integration with Europe. It is essential to reach resolution on the unsettled conflicts between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh, in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, in the Moldovan region of Transnistria, in Chechnya, and in Cyprus. Though politically difficult, Armenia and Turkey need to come to terms with their painful shared history.

Russian too has an interest in greater regional cooperation. Many of these conflicts lie on its doorstep. President Putin told a BSEC forum, "It is important that region's states are ready to act jointly against new challenges and threats." We will continue to work with our Russian partners to meet these challenges and to promote relationships within the Black Sea region that enhance stability and security.

U.S. Interests and Regional Engagement

Terrorism, Drugs and Crime

The growing sophistication of terrorists and organized criminals in the region requires us to work towards greater cooperation among governments and increased assistance. The United States is greatly increasing its assistance for interdiction and eradication of narcotics, particularly the huge amount of Afghan heroin. By some estimates, the poppy crop in Afghanistan accounts for as much as 60 percent of that country's current Gross Domestic Product.

We are also supporting regional law enforcement cooperation efforts, such as the SECI (Southeast European Cooperative Initiative) Center in Bucharest for the countries of Southeast Europe and the GUUAM and Central Asian Centers being put together through GUUAM and the UNDCP. We encourage these groups to link with each other. These kinds of regional cooperation efforts can help combat highly organized criminal activity such as terrorism, trafficking in persons, large-scale smuggling that deprives governments of needed revenues, and weapons proliferation.

EUCOM has developed the Caspian Guard initiative - a concept aimed at helping Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan improve air, ground, and maritime security through better coordination of existing programs that address proliferation, terrorism, and trafficking threats around the Caspian Sea.

In fact, many of our assistance programs focus on the border, strengthening the capabilities of customs and border police through training and the provision of equipment, introducing better technology such as passport readers, travel documents that are difficult to forge, fiber-optic equipment and modern x-ray systems to inspect cargo, and upgrading port security. We are coordinating these assistance programs with other donors, most importantly the European Commission.

But we have seen that the criminals and terrorists are not standing still in their efforts to thwart our law enforcement efforts. Our efforts will have to greatly increase if you are to contain these threats. We also have to address the poverty that is often the root cause of lawlessness and terrorism. We also have to more effectively address the myths that feed terrorism, including the lie that the U.S. is anti-Islam.

Energy

We have made significant headway in creating an East-West energy corridor

from the Caspian to the Mediterranean. We have strongly supported efforts

to build multiple pipelines to strengthen the sovereignty and economic

viability of the new nation states in the region and to allow the Caspian

Basin to contribute new energy supplies for the world market on commercial

terms.

The United States has been closely involved from the beginning in shaping first the concept of this energy corridor and then helping make it a reality through the construction, now underway, of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, due to begin first shipments in early 2005.

Through the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, we are also participating in the broad financing and insurance package that is covering 70% of the cost of this $3.6 billion project.

We have helped governments in their efforts to ensure pipeline security.

We have also supported the imminent construction as well of the parallel South Caucasus natural gas pipeline, which will ship cost-competitive Azeri gas into Turkey, from where it would be able to reach European markets.

Securitv

NATO's Partnership for Peace program played a crucial role in preparing countries for membership in the Alliance and preparing many others to participate with NATO in peacekeeping and peace support operations from the Balkans to Afghanistan and Iraq. The U.S. is proposing that PfP now return to its roots ~ transparency in defense planning, democratic control of defense forces, and capability and readiness to contribute to NATO operations, and that it focus on the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus.

Since September 11, 2001, the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus have been helpful in the war against terrorism and in supporting OEF and ISAF operations in Afghanistan. Their militaries, however, are in general poorly trained, led, and equipped, and their governments weakened by the lack of democratic and market economic reforms. These countries also lack adequate resources and expertise to make full use of PfP and to engage NATO effectively.

Given the increased importance of Central Asia and the Caucasus as frontline states in the war against terrorism, NATO needs to do more to reach out to them through the Partnership. For example, the United States is urging Allies to accept the idea of establishing NATO liaison offices in the region. Such offices would promote better regional understanding of NATO as well as greater participation by these states in PfP activities.

Conclusion

These are extraordinary times in the Black Sea region. NATO allies now sit on the southern and western shores of the Black Sea, and the Alliance maintains robust relationships with all nations of the region.

The "rose revolution" in Georgia, the generational changes in leadership in Georgia and Azerbaijan, and other events all signal the possibility of a new chapter for this region and its role in a "Wider Europe."

The political risks are great in transforming this region and taking the steps necessary for real integration in the Euro-Atlantic community. But the greater danger is doing nothing and risk being left behind.

Beth Jones

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