of the Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council
(including the Oslo Decision on NATO support for peacekeeping activities under the responsibility of the OSCE)
- We, the Foreign Ministers of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, have met in Oslo on 4 June to continue our consultations on current political developments, and to contribute as an Alliance to the fostering of a new and more peaceful order.
- We reaffirm that the security of our member states is guaranteed by the Alliance and the transatlantic partnership. At the same time, we are also convinced that stability and security in the Euro-Atlantic area will increasingly be built on a framework of interlocking and mutually reinforcing institutions: NATO, the CSCE, the European Community, the WEU and the Council of Europe. Other institutions and forms of regional cooperation also have a role to play in this framework. We will play our full part in enhancing cooperation among these institutions, as envisaged by our Heads of State and Government in Rome , so as to make the best use of our available resources to support the process of democracy and reform, and to prevent conflicts.
- In this spirit, we are resolved to make the forthcoming CSCE Summit in Helsinki a success and to strengthen further the role and effectiveness of the CSCE in this European security architecture.We also welcome tomorrow's Extraordinary Conference on the CFE Treaty.Entry into force of the CFE Treaty will put in place the cornerstone of a transformed European security structure, and will open the way to future arms control within the CSCE and to cooperative security in Europe.
- We are profoundly disturbed by the violence and destruction which continue in various areas of the Euro-Atlantic region. This is in sharp contrast to the peace and stability in the entire Euro-Atlantic area to which we are committed. We will do our utmost to prevent unbridled nationalism and attempts to resolve disputes by violence from frustrating our efforts to achieve a peaceful and cooperative order in Europe. We have issued today separate statements expressing our concern regarding the crisis in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, and the crisis centred on Nagorno-Karabakh.
The Alliance: A Strong Transatlantic Partnership
- The process of peaceful change in Europe needs a strong and dynamic North Atlantic Alliance. The Alliance provides one of the indispensable foundations for a stable security environment in Europe and its cooperation on political and security matters is an important contribution to that environment. In its process of transformation, the Alliance has also established a broader political relationship with other countries and institutions and, on the basis of its new Strategic Concept , is reducing and restructuring its forces.In an environment of more diverse risks and constrained resources, there will be a continuing need to ensure an effective collective defence based on a common perception of the security situation. To this end, the Allies will work closely together in implementing the Strategic Concept.
- As in the past, the vitality of the transatlantic link is critical to our Alliance. The tasks that we now face in building cooperation, democracy and security for all in Europe underscore the importance of developing the community of values and purpose between the North American and European democracies in the spirit of Article 2 of our Treaty. The presence of US armed forces, as well as the continuing political and military commitment of both the United States and Canada, will remain essential for the promotion and further consolidation of a new peaceful order in Europe.
A European Security and Defence Identity
- The common understanding laid down in the Rome Declaration on Peace and Cooperation, and the agreement reached by the member states of the European Community and in the Declarations of the Western European Union at Maastricht, establish the basis of the future relationship between the Alliance and the emerging European security and defence identity. We reaffirm our support for the objective of developing the WEU as the defence component of the European Union and as a means of strengthening the European pillar of the Atlantic Alliance. We welcome, therefore, the progress being made in discussions among the member states of the WEU on strengthening the operational role of the WEU.The development by the WEU of its operational capabilities in ways that complement and are fully compatible with the common defence we enjoy in the Alliance, will enhance the Allies' ability to work together in the common defence. We reaffirm that, as the transformation of the Alliance proceeds, we intend to preserve the operational coherence we now have and on which our defence depends. We stress the importance of maintaining Allies' existing obligations and commitments of forces to NATO, and we emphasise in this regard that the primary responsibility of forces answerable to the WEU will remain NATO's collective defence under the Washington Treaty.
- At our last meeting in December , we tasked the North Atlantic Council in Permanent Session to develop proposals for practical arrangements regarding the working relations between the two organisations.These arrangements, based on transparency and complementarity, will reinforce transatlantic solidarity in security matters and will ensure that all the Allies are adequately involved in decisions that may affect their security. As the WEU develops further its own structures, we will continue to work with it to establish close working links, including between the two Councils and secretariats and between defence staffs. In this regard, we welcome the joint meeting of the Permanent Councils of the Alliance and the WEU that took place on 21 May. We also look forward to concrete arrangements within the WEU regarding the role of other European Allies.We welcome the intention of the WEU to ensure that these arrangements will give them the possibility of participating fully in the activities of the WEU.
Relations with Cooperation Partners
- Our security is inseparably linked to that of all other states in Europe.A major goal of our Alliance is not only to provide security for its own members, but also to contribute to the building of a new and lasting order of peace in Europe through dialogue, partnership and cooperation.We have moved quickly to respond to the needs and expectations of our new cooperation partners. The North Atlantic Cooperation Council, which will meet tomorrow for the third time, has opened new possibilities for addressing the security concerns of all participating countries in a Euro-Atlantic forum. At the same time, it helps to further the objectives of the CSCE. Our work plan gives substance to our determination to build a new relationship with our cooperation partners through consultation and through cooperative activities in such matters as restructuring their defences and consolidating democratic civilian control over the military. Our work plan will evolve further over time according to circumstances and needs. We also welcome the efforts of the North Atlantic Assembly and the Atlantic Treaty Association and its individual members in support of these activities.
- The CSCE has an essential role to play in the development of a cooperative approach to security, and in the promotion of democracy, human rights and economic liberty. During the past two years, we have taken initiatives to reinforce the CSCE and its ability to contribute to a Europe in which change takes place in conformity with CSCE principles. We are determined to continue our common efforts to secure full implementation of these principles.The strengthening of the means available to the CSCE for conflict prevention and crisis management will be essential if peace and prosperity are to be upheld in Europe. We support the proposal under discussion at the Helsinki Follow-Up Meeting for the CSCE to declare itself as a regional arrangement under Chapter VIII of the United Nations' Charter. We look to the Helsinki Summit to strengthen the process of political consultation and cooperation by enhancing the existing institutions, structures and mechanisms of the CSCE and developing new means to facilitate peaceful democratic change.
- The Alliance has the capacity to contribute to effective actions by the CSCE in line with its new and increased responsibilities for crisis management and the peaceful settlement of disputes. In this regard, we are prepared to support, on a case-by-case basis in accordance with our own procedures, peacekeeping activities under the responsibility of the CSCE, including by making available Alliance resources and expertise. We have asked the Council in Permanent Session to address, with the advice of the NATO Military Authorities, the practical options and modalities by which such support might be provided. This will be done without prejudice to possible contributions by other CSCE countries and other organisations to these operations.
- The development of all aspects of the CSCE in a coherent manner will improve its ability to contribute to Europe's peace and stability. Full observance of CSCE commitments remains essential for the achievement of our goal: a peaceful, prosperous Europe. In an environment where the relevance of human rights, democracy and the rule of law to security and stability is becoming more apparent, the respect for human rights must remain a central concern for the CSCE. We believe that further political impetus should be given to economic, scientific and environmental cooperation. We note in this respect the decision that the Committee of Senior Officials will meet periodically as the CSCE Economic Forum to foster economic development and free markets.
The United Nations
- We support the valuable contribution of the United Nations to conflict settlement and peacekeeping in the Euro-Atlantic region. We reiterate our commitment to strengthening that organisation's ability to carry out its larger endeavours for world peace.We welcome the fact that Allies participate in and contribute to United Nations peacekeeping and other efforts.
- We understand the concern of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania about the lack of progress in their negotiations with Russia on the withdrawal of former Soviet forces.We are aware of the practical problems for Russia connected with such withdrawals, but these cannot affect the application of the basic principle of international law that the presence of foreign troops on the territory of a sovereign state requires the explicit consent of that state. We call upon the states concerned to conclude agreements soon, establising firm timetables for the early withdrawal of former Soviet forces.
Arms Control and Cooperative Security
- We are committed to continuing our efforts to negotiate concrete measures of arms control and disarmament designed to reinforce confidence and security among all CSCE participating states.Such negotiations, together with intensified cooperation and dialogue in the field of security, and enhancement of the relevant mechanisms to reduce the risk of conflict, are essential building blocks for shaping a cooperative order of security. We confirm our main objectives, set out last December and in the paper tabled by Norway last March in Vienna, for a CSCE forum for security cooperation to be established at the CSCE Follow-Up Meeting in Helsinki.
- The CFE Treaty is an important milestone in the enhancement of security and stability in Europe. We thus welcome the agreement among the states of the former Soviet Union, setting out their individual rights and obligations under the Treaty, as a major step towards the full implementation of the Treaty. We look forward to the successful outcome of the Extraordinary Conference tomorrow, to the results of which the High Level Working Group has significantly contributed. We remain committed to achieving entry into force of the CFE Treaty in time for the Helsinki CSCE Summit, and call upon states parties to the Treaty to deposit outstanding instruments of ratification by that time. The successful conclusion of a CFE IA agreement will also be an important contibution to stability in Europe. We call on our negotiating partners to work with us to resolve the remaining issues and to conclude such an agreement in time for the Helsinki Summit.
- We look forward to the early entry into force of the Treaty on Open Skies and adherence to it from interested states which are participating in the CSCE but are not original signatories to the Treaty as provided for by article XVII of the Treaty, and called for in the CSCE Open Skies Declaration of 24 March 1992.
- The non-proliferation of nuclear weapons is an essential element of cooperative security and of international stability. We attach importance to early accession to the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) by Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, as non-nuclear weapon states, as was made clear in the Allies' statement of 21 April. We welcome the commitments by Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine to become non-nuclear weapon states and urge them to negotiate safeguards agreements with the IAEA as soon as possible. We urge all states concerned to uphold, as a matter of priority, the commitments set out in the Alma Ata and Minsk accords and welcome the announcement that withdrawal of former Soviet tactical nuclear weapons to Russia for ultimate dismantlement has been completed well before the 1 July target date.
- We also expect the full implementation of all obligations undertaken unilaterally and bilaterally by the Russian Federation concerning tactical and strategic nuclear weapons reductions. Allies reiterate their offers to provide assistance in the process of eliminating nuclear weapons. We call for the speedy ratification and entry into force of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).In this context, we welcome the commitments undertaken by Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine in the Protocol to START agreed in Lisbon on 23 May.
- International transfers of conventional armaments beyond legitimate defence needs in particular to regions of tension, increase the dangers of conflict and hinder the achievement of peaceful settlement of disputes. We are committed to working towards transparency and restraint in this field and fully support the universal register of conventional arms transfers established by the United Nations. We call on all UN member states to provide the required data to make this register fully effective.We shall furthermore examine how the CSCE can contribute to responsible policies on arms transfers.
- We are convinced that agreement on a global, comprehensive and effectively verifiable ban on chemical weapons can be reached this year, and are determined to complete the Geneva negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament successfully.
- We will pursue this ambitious agenda for cooperative security with energy and determination. In recent months and years, NATO has shown itself capable of adapting to the profound and historic changes sweeping this continent. The challenge now is to press forward with building an architecture of mutually reinforcing institutions which will provide effective means to enhance security for the whole of Europe. By combining vision with pragmatic initiatives and action, we will ensure that our Alliance will remain central to the success of this great enterprise.
- We express our deep appreciation to the Government of the Kingdom of Norway for its gracious hospitality.Our Autumn North Atlantic Council meeting in Ministerial Session will be in Brussels on 17 December 1992.