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NAC’s Balkan tour

The North Atlantic Council (NAC), NATO’s senior decisionmaking body comprised of the 19 NATO ambassadors, Secretary General Lord Robertson and Admiral Guido Venturoni, the chairman of NATO’s Military Committee, made a fact-finding tour of the Balkans between 17 and 19 July to review the state of the peace processes in Kosovo and Bosnia.

Croatian President Stipe Mesic visited NATO on 17 July and discussed with Lord Robertson political changes in his country since he came to power.

Lord Robertson visited Centra Asia between 3 and 7 July and met Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Uzbekistan’s Prime Minister Utkur Sultanov, and President Askar Akaev of the Kyrghyz Republic. President Nazarbayev visited NATO on 27 June.

Lord Robertson visited Germany on 29 June to meet with Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, and Defence Minister Rudolf Scharping to discuss the European Security and Defence Identity in the light of Germany’s military reforms.

New Spanish ambassador

Ambassador Juan Prat y Coll succeeded Ambassador Javier Conde de Saro as permanent- representative of Spain to the North Atlantic Council on 10 July. A career diplomat from Barcelona, Ambassador Prat, 58, was formerly Spain’s ambassador to Italy, Albania, Malta and San Marino between 1996 and 2000. Before that he was director general at the European Commission, for external relations (1995-96) and for North-South relations, Mediterranean policy and relations with Latin America and Asia (1990-95).

War crimes suspect snatched

War crimes suspect, Dusko Sikirica, was snatched in Bosnia by SFOR peacekeepers on 25 June and transferred to the

International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. Sikirica, a former commander of the Keraterm prison camp, is accused of genocide, violation of the laws and customs of war and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions.

EU leaders identified principles for consultation with NATO on military issues and ways to develop- EU-NATO relations at their two-day summit in Feira, Portugal, on 19 and 20 June.

Five NATO and nine Partner countries rehearsed peace support operations in Tirana between 21 June and 1 July in an exercise called Cooperative Dragon 2000.

Lord Robertson visited the United States between 21 and 23 June for talks with Secretary of Defense William Cohen, Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, several senators and congressional leaders and to attend the annual seminar of the Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic.

KFOR peacekeepers in Kosovo discovered an illegal arms dump on 16 June and seized the contents, including heavy machineguns, mortars, detonators, antitank missiles, boxes of ammunition and large quantities of TNT.

Ten NATO and six Partner countries took part in Cooperative Partner 2000, a military exercise designed to help multinational forces work together in peace support operations, between 19 June and 1 July around Odessa in the Black Sea in Ukraine.

This year’s Manfred Wörner Fellowship, worth 800,000 Belgian francs, went to Alexander Yuschenko of Kharkov State Polytechnic University in Ukraine for his project entitled Intellectual Modelling of Information Management of Political Mentality Dynamics of Social Ukrainian Strata Towards NATO.

Some 400 sea rescue specialists from 16 NATO and Partner countries took part in Cooperative Safeguard 2000, a Partnership for Peace exercise, in Iceland between 7 and 12 June focusing on maritime humanitarian operations.

Defence ministers’ acknowledgement

NATO defence ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium, on 8 June acknowledged the need to do more to improve defence capabilities in order to meet goals laid down at last year’s Washington Summit and be ready for a future Kosovo-type crisis.

16 NATO and Partner countries took part in Cooperative Banners 2000, a military exercise aiming to train naval, land and air forces in out-of-area peace support operations, between 29 May and 10 June in Denmark and southern Norway.

Between 5 and 9 and 13 and 16 June in northern France 13 NATO countries took part in Clean Hunter 2000, an air force exercise aiming to train participants in tactical air operations, and help evaluate and practise joint regulations and procedures.

Lord Robertson visited Kosovo on 31 May for a third time since taking office in October last year, for talks with UN administrator Bernard Kouchner, military commanders and local officials. He travelled to Kosovo after addressing the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Hungary and meeting Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on 30 May.

The Standing Committee of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly said it was willing to resume dialogue with the Russian Duma at a meeting in Budapest, Hungary, on 29 May. Relations were interrupted as a result of NATO’s air campaign against Yugoslavia.

Between 20 May and 10 June, Italy, Greece and Turkey hosted Dynamic Mix 2000, an exercise involving some 15,000 trooops, 65 ships and 290 aircraft from 14 NATO countries. Participants rehearsed humanitarian intervention, deployment, re-deployment and combined land, sea and air operations.

Florence détente

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov attended the NATORussian Permanent Joint Council meeting in Florence, Italy, on 24 May for the first time since NATO’s air campaign against Yugoslavia.

Croatia became the 46th member of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council after joining the Partnership for Peace on 25 May.

A Weapons of Mass Destruction Centre opened at NATO on 22 May to improve coordination of WMD-related activities, to strengthen consultations on nonproliferation, arms control and disarmament, and to improve the Alliance’s ability to respond to the threat of WMD.

Lord Robertson visited Helsinki, Tallinn and Vilnius on 17, 18 and 19 May, meeting with the heads of state and government and the foreign and defence ministers of Finland, Estonia and Lithuania.

Vilnius declaration

Foreign ministers of the nine countries aspiring to join NATO – Albania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia1 – made a joint pledge on 19 March in Vilnius to prepare and apply for membership together.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yuschenko visited NATO on 22 May and Admiral Guido Venturoni, chairman of NATO’s Military Committee, visited Ukraine between 17 and 19 May.

Membership invitations at 2002 NATO summit

During a visit to Slovakia and Slovenia on 10 and 11 May, Lord Robertson said that decisions on the next invitations for NATO membership would be taken at the Alliance’s next summit in 2002.

France’s first Partnership for Peace exercise, Cooperative Lantern 2000, took place between 14 and 27 May and involved some 600 military personnel from 22 countries practising working together in two multinational brigades in Fréjus in southern France.

Russian participation resumes

Russia resumed participation in NATO’s highest military authority, the Military Committee’s chiefsof-staff meeting, on 9 and 10 May for the first time since NATO’s air campaign against Yugoslavia last year.

Croatian Prime Mininster Ivica Racan visited NATO on 9 May to discuss his country’s relations with Bosnia, support for the Dayton Peace Accords, refugee return, cooperation with the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague and domestic political reform.

Italy in the Balkans

Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi visited NATO on 5 May and Lord Robertson visited Italy on 8 May to discuss current security issues and Italy’s contribution to peace-building in the Balkans.

More than 2000 troops from 11 NATO countries took part in Ardent Ground, an annual rapid reaction exercise in Hungary, between 29 April and 13 May organised for the Ace Mobile Force (Land). AMF (L) is a rapid reaction force trained to deploy within 72 hours.

Linked Seas 2000, a joint peacekeeping exercise involving participants from 17 countries, took place between 2 and 15 May in an area stretching from the Gulf of Gascony to the Island of Madeira. The exercise simulated response to a border conflict between two non-NATO countries.

SHAPE change

General Wesley Clark handed over command of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe to General Joseph Ralston on 3 May. General Ralston, a combat pilot with more than 2,500 flying hours including missions over Laos and North Vietnam, is also the commanderin-chief, United States European Command, and was previously vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the second highest-ranking officer in the United States.

SFOR peacekeepers arrested war crimes suspect Dragan Nikolic on 21 April and transferred him to the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. Nikolic was commander of the Susica detention camp and is accused of crimes against humanity, violations of laws and customs of war and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions.

NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Relief Coordination Centre helped coordinate international aid for victims of flooding in Hungary and Romania in April, assisting Budapest and Bucharest rapidly obtain sandbags and fuel.

Euro KFOR command

The five-nation European military force, or Eurocorps, headed by the Spaniard, Lieutenant-General Juan Ortuño, took command for six months of the Kosovo Force on 18 April. Eurocorps replaces LANDCENT, which was headed by German General Klaus Reinhardt.

Lord Robertson visited the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague on 13 April where he reiterated NATO’s determination to arrest war crime suspects still at large. He also met with Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok, Foreign Minister Jozias van Aartsen and Defence Minister Frank de Grave.

Lord Robertson visited the United States between 3 and 7 April to meet with Vice President Al Gore, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and key senators, and to give a series of speeches at think tanks and universities across the country.

SFOR peacekeepers arrested Momcilo Krajisnik, the highestranking war crimes suspect arrested to date, on 3 April in Bosnia. A confidant of Bosnian Serb wartime leader and indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic, Krajisnik has been charged by the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague with genocide and many other war crimes including murder, wilful killing, extermination, deportation and inhumane acts.

Lord Robertson visited Latvia and Sweden between 29 and 31 March.

Lord Robertson visited Kosovo on 24 March to mark the first anniversary of NATO’s air campaign against Yugoslavia, meeting with the then KFOR commander, General Klaus Reinhardt, the UN administrator, Bernard Kouchner, and three Albanian members of the province’s Interim Administrative Council.

Estonian Prime Minister Mart Laar visited NATO on 22 March to meet Lord Robertson and discuss Estonia’s involvement in NATO’s Membership Action Plan.

Ten NATO countries took part in Ample Train 2000, an air logistics exercise testing the degree of compatibility between participants’ rapid reaction forces, in France between 27 and 31 March.

Kosovo One Year On

A year after NATO launched Operation Allied Force against Yugoslavia, Lord Robertson published his thoughts on the

achievements and challenges in Kosovo in a report called Kosovo One Year On: Achievement and Challenge. He explained that the international community remained committed to peace and stability in the province, but stressed that locals had a fundamental role to play in the peaceful cohabitation of different ethnic groups.

Lord Roberston visited Croatia and Hungary on 16 and 17 March, meeting with the leaders of these two countries and then attending a two-day working session with southeastern European prime ministers.

Albanian Prime Minister Ilir Meta visited NATO on 20 March and discussed the situation in Montenegro, the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe and defence reform in Albania with Lord Robertson.

Strategic Reserve Forces took part in exercise Dynamic Response 2000 between 19 March and 10 April in Kosovo to test their ability to deploy rapidly, their interoperability and operational readiness, and demonstrate NATO’s capacity to reinforce KFOR.

(1) Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.

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