Speech of H.E.Mr. Stjepan Mesić, president of the Republic of Croatia
Dear Mr President of the Republic of Poland,
Distinguished presidents and prime ministers,
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen
It has been a pleasure to accept the invitation of our distinguished host and my good friend, president Aleksandar Kwasniewski, to participate at the conference on combatting global terrorism, attended by the highest representatives of Central European countries.
It has been slightly less than three months since, practically within a moment, we were most brutally faced with the truth of how monstrous the threat of global terrorism could be. It was then, at that moment, that we realised this could not go on any further.
In my address to the Croatian pubnic the day after the terrorist attacks on Washington and New York, I said that we must create a global anti-terrorist coalition. In saying that, I was motivated both by the solidarity with the attacked and the awareness that we should jointly establish our own self-defense.
The coalition is already operating today, but for understandable reasons we are far from speaking about its being firmly defined or fully completed. It is clear that the United States of America have taken the leadership. America has been victimized, and Anerica has the potentials to undertake and implement such a role.
However, we are now coming to the question of the members of the coalition and their roles. This is exactly where I see the main purpose and benefit of our conference today. It is true that we have gathered here on the basis of geographic criteria, but if we have a look at what is to be found under the umbrella of Central Europe, we shall see that among us there are big and small ones, developed and developing ones, some of us already are NATO members while there are also those of us who still hope for the membership. And we are all united under one comon denominator – the need to identify our roles within the anti-terrorist coalition.
I think that the coalition , which will undoubtedly be operating for a long time, should embark on what I would call the division of tasks, or identification of its physiognomy. I already tried to make a modest contribution to the pool of thoughts on the subject, when, on the occasion of my visit to Slovakia and later in a speech at the American University in Blagoevgrad, I proposed the priciples of action taken by the anti-terrorist coalition.
A lot of those principles have in the meantime been generally accepted, one of them being the thesis that the global response to global terrorism is not and must never become a clash of civilizations, religions or cultures. I think we are close to accepting the idea that automatism should be introduced when extraditing suspected terrorists from any country, regardless of any specific circumstances, to the country in which the terrorist attack took place.
On the same occasion I also mentioned something that I would like to elaborate on here , namely, the need to analyse the causes of terrorism. I want to be absolutely clear here – things have gone too far and we cannot wait for a thorough analysis of the causes before we take action.
But neither can we postpone the analysis until the fight against global terrorism enters its final stage. Therefore, we must take action and carry out the analysis at the same time.
We will act , within the scope of our possibilities and I hope with coordination which will be increasing every day, not only in military terms, but also economically, as well as at the level of intelligence and politics. Furthermore, the analytical job should start as soon as possble with as high level of mutual cooperation and coordination as possible.
This is why I welcome all effort towards reseraching terrorism together with its causes and its roots. It would be too simple, and would in a way suit terrorists themselves, for us to accept the argument that the unresolved Middle East crisis should be «blamed» for everything.
In my opinion, it is fairer and more realistic to say that the lack of development, lack of freedom, as well as poverty and the consequences of uresolved regional crises create a favourable climate for fanatism of those who suffer.
Fanatic actions are most easily carried out when hiding behind an ideology or religion, and as a mask to cover its actions, terrorism will be glad to use liberation wars for the same purpose, in other words, to take advantage of fights for legitimate national rights of this or that nation.
I have, of course. been talking about indications only. I think, however, that they represent a pretty accurate picture of the crux of the problem.
I would therefore conclude my speeech with an invitation which I have expressed in four points:
1. Let us establish permanent exchange of information on what we are doing within the anti- terrorist coalition,
2. Let us establish a cooperation of intelligence organizations where there is none, and deepen it if it already exists,
3. Let us concentrate, at least at this stage, on the economic component of the war against terrorism and
4. Let us start seriously working together on the analysis of its causes.
If we keep going in this direction, we shall, it seems to me, make the best possible contribution both to our present fight against global terrorism, as well as to the effort to eliminate its causes. There is no other winning combination. Only in this way can we secure a final victory rather than just a recess before a new war begins.
And nothing less should we be satisfied with.