I want to welcome the NATO Workshop to the Dresden Stadtschloss, one of the most important buildings in old Dresden, currently under reconstruction. This castle was built in the time of Augustus II, who reigned 300 years ago and to whom we owe many of the baroque jewels that make Dresden a beautiful city. The castle was destroyed, as were most of the buildings in Dresden, in the devastating attack of 13 February 1945, an event which is commemorated yearly by the population. The last commemoration, however--the 50th one--took place in an atmosphere of friendship and understanding. It was highlighted by the visit of the Duke of Kent and underlined by great interest on the part of both Great Britain and the United States. Their commanding generals, together with our German Chief of Armed Forces, laid a wreath at the monument in the cemetery.
These events mark another wonderful step in the process of overcoming difficult situations and becoming a European community. Now, Dresden is part of Germany, of course, but also part of Europe. Saxony has been a governed territory for almost 1,000 years, and much of what the people identify with in their state, their land, and their buildings has been influenced by outside sources. Many treasures were assembled in the city, such as the Green Vault Gallery, which are now part of Dresden's cultural heritage.
Yet heritage becomes worthless, or at least unproductive, if it is not projected into the future. We are therefore trying to find a synthesis between the cultural heritage of this important and proud part of Germany and the future. This is why I am particularly happy to welcome not only NATO member-countries but also countries that lay east and southeast of the German border, and I look forward to future cooperation beyond those borders that once divided Europe between the East and the West.
Dresden, the capital of the Free State of Saxony, has many faces. The city brings together art and culture of European significance and is renowned for its economic and scientific achievements. Dresden also plays a special integrative role both in Germany, as we once more tread a common path, and in a united Europe. Thus, it fills us with pride that the NATO Workshop chose Dresden as its venue.
I would like to tell you a little story--a true one. In December 1989, Chancellor Helmut Kohl visited the former GDR for the first time. He met then-Prime Minister Hans Modrow, as well as the people of East Germany and the opposition groups. I had the opportunity to talk for an hour with Helmut Kohl, and we discussed how German reunification could occur. There were two issues: first, the Deutsch Mark had to be introduced; second, the GDR had to leave the Warsaw Pact and join NATO. In December 1989, these ideas were unthinkable, and no one could imagine how such changes could take place. Since the Soviet troops were still present at the time, it clearly would be many years before the GDR could join NATO. Nonetheless, it happened, and reunification is now a reality. For me, these events seem miraculous.
Five years after my meeting with Helmut Kohl, our city is full of cranes--which may spoil the view for some visitors. But Dresdeners find the outlook promising. The construction business is booming as we rebuild the old town that was devastated by the bombings of World War II--and subsequently damaged by socialist architecture. Our great efforts are visible everywhere. The Church of Our Lady, the Frauenkirche, deserves special attention. This gem of baroque architecture, destroyed in 1945, will be rebuilt with the help of donations from all over the world. Dresden is pleased to host this symbol of reconciliation among nations.
In 1930, preceded only by Berlin, Hamburg, and Leipzig, Dresden ranked fourth among German cities for its economic power. Now we are ranked about fiftieth, but we are progressing. Today, we are fighting the heritage of communist rule, including problems of unemployment and housing scarcity. Still, we are optimistic. Renowned international companies such as AEG, German Airbus Industries, and others are advancing Dresden's great traditions in science and research and developing the education and skills of its citizens. Thirty scientific institutes such as the prestigious Max Planck Institute and an excellent technological university contribute to Dresden's international reputation in science. Dreams of becoming the German Silicon Valley are not far-fetched.
Long called the German Florence, Dresden has captivated visitors throughout the centuries. Artists have been inspired by the city's special appeal, the result of harmony between its architecture and natural surroundings. The composers Richard Wagner and Carl Maria von Weber spent many years in our city. Here, Schiller was inspired to write his Ode of Joy. The Taschenbergpalais, where this year's NATO Workshop is taking place, was also a cultural jewel and has now been rebuilt as a luxury hotel. Dresden is an East German city that is definitely undergoing change.
On behalf of all participants at the 12th NATO Workshop, I am delighted to thank Minister-President Kurt Biedenkopf for his generosity in inviting us to the Dresden Stadtschloss. As an Anglo-Saxon, I am very pleased that the Workshop could be held in the capital city of Saxony. Secondly, I especially appreciate Minister-President Biedenkopf's invitation to the Stadtschloss, because that fine building exemplifies the remarkable reconstruction and the rebirth of Dresden and the Free State of Saxony. All who have visited Dresden admire the scale and the speed of its rebuilding, so I can do no better than echo General Klaus Naumann's Workshop welcoming remarks when he described the Taschenbergpalais, site of this year'sWorkshop, as a place where trees were growing among the ruins until very recently.
The support by Dresden, Saxony, and the federal government of Germany for this NATO Workshop has been truly outstanding. Consequently, the Workshop was a marvelous occasion, which set high standards that we will find very difficult to match in future years.
In addition, I was very pleased to learn of a regional "Partnership for Peace" which is now appearing in this area and which the Free State of Saxony has arranged on its own with Poland and the Czech Republic--an effort that follows the theme of our NATO Workshop. Finally, we appreciate the warmth of our welcome to Saxony, not only by the government, but also by all the Saxons who live in the beautiful city of Dresden.
We are grateful to the German government for its invitation to stage the 12th NATO Workshop in the beautiful city of Dresden--one of Europe's historical and cultural crossroads. We are also grateful for the welcome and generosity of the German Republic, the Free State of Saxony, and Dresden's Lord Mayor and people. The Bundesrepublik and especially the Bundeswehr have given the Workshop outstanding support. We also appreciate the Luftwaffe aircraft that flew in the large contingent from Brussels and Mons and the German officers, soldiers, and airmen who looked after every detail.
On the first morning of the Workshop, Supreme Allied Commander Europe General George Joulwan told us a tale about hard-working people from the American midwest, concluding his remarks with "Steady, boys, steady." We should take these words to heart as we in NATO hurry with unaccustomed urgency to meet the exciting challenges resulting from the "new world order" and reflected in the rapid developments within the Alliance since the Brussels Summit in January 1994.
In my view, this Workshop has already made a significant contribution to meeting those challenges. While this forum was originally organized to address the problems involved in political-military decision making, it has taken on a life of its own. This is due to the wide and high-level participation of so many Partners, the openness and frankness of our distinguished speakers, and the shrewd intervention and debate that have characterized discussions. The Workshop has provided a useful dimension to all the activities we are undertaking under the umbrella of the PFP program.
Following the Workshop, which has essentially been a debate at the diplomatic level, the Central Region will be conducting another major event on this year's Partnership for Peace calendar: the CENTRAL ECLECTIC Exercise. This seminar will address, at the operational command level, the practical issues of working together within a military peacekeeping framework--planning together, looking at the Headquarters structure, and discussing the necessary command and control questions, all within a strictly imaginary but sensibly generic scenario. In these areas, the NATO Workshop has already proven its value as a lead-up to the Exercise, enabling us to work together with Partners and to learn from one another. We are indeed making steady, though measured, progress.
Those involved in the massive undertaking of reintegrating and rebuilding the "Neue Länder," however, have different riding instructions. In the beautiful city of Dresden--one of the jewels in the crown of German culture and architectural vision--we see the dynamic manifestation of what energy, efficiency, and thoroughness can produce. In the Taschenbergpalais, rising from the ruins and dark stains of recent history, we see the marvelous fusion of artistic elegance and style combined with the highest-quality construction and technical standards that we have come to associate with and applaud as the hallmark of modern Germany.
On behalf of SACEUR and all of those participating in this 12th NATO Workshop, we say "Thank you" for the hospitality and for the chance to witness in Dresden the remarkable progress being achieved in Germany's great undertaking.
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