of the Meetings of the NACC and the EAPC in Sintra, Portugal
- The Foreign Ministers and Representatives of the member countries of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council and participating countries of the Partnership for Peace met in Sintra today. The Secretary General of the Western European Union also attended the meeting. The Secretary General of NATO informed Ministers about the results of the North Atlantic Council meeting on 29 May.
- The Ministers decided to establish and inaugurate a new cooperative mechanism, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC). Ministers approved and agreed to publish a Basic Document which sets out the characteristics and scope of the EAPC.
- The Ministers welcomed the creation of the EAPC, which replaces the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC), as marking a qualitative step forward in raising to a new level the dynamic and multi-faceted political and military cooperation successfully built up under the NACC and the Partnership for Peace (PfP). Ministers shared the view that the EAPC opens further opportunities for a substantially expanded political dimension of partnership and for enhanced practical cooperation under PfP between NATO and its partners. They welcomed in particular the increased opportunities for political consultations in a variety of flexible formats to deal with a broadened range of subjects of common concern. Ministers also welcomed the enhancement of PfP endorsed by NATO Ministers at their meeting as a continuing, distinct element of the EAPC framework to further strengthen individualised cooperation between NATO and its partners, according to each partner's own determination of its specific interests in cooperation, on the principle of self-differentiation. Ministers expressed their conviction that the EAPC will make a strong contribution to cooperative approaches to security and form an enduring part of the European security architecture.
- The Ministers paid tribute to NACC's valuable contribution to bringing together our countries following the Cold War period and to overcoming misunderstanding and mistrust. They underlined the historic importance of NACC, from its inception in 1991, for helping to overcome the division of Europe by providing a multilateral forum for political consultations on security related issues and practical cooperation among states in the Euro-Atlantic area. They recalled that the NACC had laid the foundation for, and fostered the growth among its members, of ever deepening cooperation. This provided the basis for the launching, in 1994, of the PfP, which has been an outstanding success. Ministers reaffirmed their commitment that the EAPC should continue to pursue NACC's core goals of fostering cooperation, transparency and trust in security affairs.
- Ministers discussed regional cooperation in the light of SFOR experience and reviewed the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They were satisfied that SFOR, in which the number of PfP participants has grown to 15, is contributing effectively to the further stabilization of the peace while also assisting vigorously the High Representative and other civilian organizations in implementing the two-year civilian consolidation plan. They stressed the need to effectively support the work of the OSCE in preparing for the upcoming municipal elections. They voiced their expectation that the extensive and prolonged investment their nations were making for the sake of peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina would be met with adequate commitment by the Bosnian authorities in the implementation of the Peace Agreement.
- The Ministers agreed to meet again in Brussels, Belgium on 17th December 1997.