Mr. Secretary General, Prime Minister Berlusconi, President Putin, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
At this first meeting of the NATO-Russia Council, I take real pleasure in re-presenting Denmark. My country attaches the strongest importance to the closer relations we inaugurate today between our Alliance and the Russian Federation. I see our decision as a historical event in building the new security system in Europe. Another sign of how much and how quickly everything has changed. Old adversaries are now close partners. We share a common interest in fighting the new threat from terrorism.
First, I should like to congratulate the Presidents of the United States and the Russian Federation on the impressive results of their meetings in Moscow and St. Petersburg last week, in particular the Treaty on deep cuts in offensive strategic arms.
We have great expectations for the work of the NATO-Russia Council.
Twenty, and soon quite a few more, members of this Council – big and small – will be joining their efforts in this new body.
We need to demonstrate real progress and do it reasonably quickly to achieve momentum. I expect that we can conclude after some time that the new Council moved NATO-Russia relations to a higher level of development, performing in a cooperative and constructive atmosphere.
Here, at the beginning of this promising stage of our relations, I would in particular like to highlight the fight against terrorism as a crucial area for cooperation.
Counterterrorism is our common concern and to a large extent the element that led to this new beginning in NATO-Russia relations. The military component is not by far the only or even the most important part of the struggle. Our new Council will be involved in the broader political consultations that precede important decisions in many areas on how to deal with the threat.
We also share a strong interest in preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery to irresponsible owners and operators. Much necessary work remains to be done in this area, and Russia is uniquely positioned to bring useful contributions to making our world more secure.
The more rapid headway we achieve on issues such as these, the more progress will follow on the other subjects on the list in our declaration. Success will breed success.
Denmark is a nation with a record of peaceful relations during many centuries with our great neighbour on the Baltic Sea. This is how we see the work we are beginning today in the NATO-Russia Council.
Thank you for your attention.