Conference to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact held in Prague
29.06.2011 / 12:45
An International Conference “Europe – Whole and Free? Two Decades Since the End of the Warsaw Pact” was held in Prague on 27-28 June, 2011. The Conference was organized jointly by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and of Defense of the Czech Republic in cooperation with the non-governmental organization Opona, o.p.s.
Twenty years ago, the act of the dissolution of the Warsaw Treaty Organization took place in the Czernin Palace. The traditional seat of the Czechoslovak and Czech Foreign Service has once again welcome some of the main political leaders from both sides of the former Iron Curtain who participated in the historical decision.
The invitation by Karel Schwarzenberg, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Alexander Vondra, Minister of Defense, was accepted, along with the former Czech President Václav Havel, by:
- Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, President of Latvia (1999–2007)
- Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Vice Chancellor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany (1974–1992)
- Alexander Bessmertnykh, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union (1991)
- Géza Jeszenszky, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary (1990-1994)
- Władysław Bartoszewski, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland (1995, 2000-2001)
- Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Defense Secretary (1992–1995) and Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom (1995– 1997)
- Jean-Pierre Chevènement, Minister of Defense of France (1988-1991)
- František Mikloško, President of the Slovak National Council (1990-1992)
- Mirosław Jasiński, Poland, Co-Founder of Polish–Czechoslovak Solidarity
- General Vladimir Lobov, Russia, Chief of Staff of the Unified Armed Forces of the Warsaw Pact (1989–1991)
- General Svetozár Naďovič, Slovakia
and many other distinguished guests.
The aim of the conference was to assess the commemorated fundamental change in the European security architecture as an impulse whose effects can be felt even today. The first day of the conference examined the past and future development of the transatlantic and Eurasian cooperation in the area of security and defense from the foreign policy perspective. It mainly focused on NATO enlargement and relations between Russia and the Western World. The key topics of the closing sessions presenting the historical perspective were the Warsaw Treaty Organization from the Prague Spring till its demise and deployments of Soviet troops on the territory of Warsaw Pact members and their departure.
The program of the Conference also included an opening of a unique exhibition of photographs presented by the Military History Institute and Opona, o.p.s. in the Wallenstein Garden under the auspices of Přemysl Sobotka, Vice-Chairman of the Senate the Parliament of the Czech Republic.
The Conference was a part of the Week of Freedom, a project organized by the non-governmental organization Opona, o.p.s. The Czech public was offered an attractive program including a joint international concert of musicians from the countries which used to belong to the Soviet empire. More information about the project can be found at www.weekoffreedom.eu.