June 14, 1996
by Secretary of Defense
SECRETARY PERRY: The stability of Europe on into the next
century depends, first of all on maintaining a strong NATO,
secondly on developing a positive, constructive relationship
between NATO and Russia, and third, on building on the very
successful Partnership for Peace program, which is already
William J. Perry
Yesterday at our meetings, we took very substantial actions to
deal with the changes that are occuring in the world, but
still allow NATO to maintain its strength on into the next
century. Those have already been reported to you.
Today, we concentrated on developing the NATO-Russia
relationship, and on building on Partnership for Peace. With
Russia, we essentially agreed to build on the relationship
that has already been formed as a part of Russia's
participation in IFOR, and to institutionalize -- to make
permanent -- those arrangements. And that's going to include
having Russian officers assigned at SHAPE, and to some of the
major subordinate commands, and to have NATO officers assigned
to the General Staff in Moscow.
In terms of the Partnership for Peace, we had excellent
meetings today, first of all reviewing the truly amazing
progress that has been made with the 27 Partner nations. We
laid out a plan for a very extensive and intensive set of
exercises for this coming year. And we had an opportunity to
learn about the activities among Partner nations. For
example, the formation of the BALTBAT -- the Baltic Battalion
-- which has been stimulated by Denmark, in which three
different Baltic countries have formed a peacekeeping
battalion and have a training program underway in Latvia, and
have some of their forces participating with the Nordic
Battalion in Bosnia.
That was used as a model for three Central Asian countries who
were forming peacekeeping battalions in their three countries:
Kazakstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. The Poles are forming a
joint battalion with Lithuania, and also a joint [battalion]
between Poland and Ukraine. So we have a very substantial
activity among the Partner nations. I could not be more
pleased with the very positive developments I've had from
these historic meetings the last two days.
And with that I'll be prepared to take a question or two.
Q: Dr. Perry, given General Grachev's strongly stated
objection to the expansion of NATO, were you surprised -- and
in fact was General Grachev surprised -- at how well things
went today, and the steps that were taken?
SECRETARY PERRY: General -- Minister Grachev, at the 16-plus-1 meeting that we
had, made an opening speech in which he laid
out the objections which Russia has made for many months now
to the expansion of NATO. Then he offered a whole set of very
constructive proposals for how NATO and Russia could work
together. That was followed by myself and the other NATO
defense ministers welcoming those parts of the proposals, and
accepting them, in effect, and we came to agreement in concept
on how to proceed on those. And over the next few months we
will make the specific arrangements for basically taking the
IFOR liaison program that we have set up and making it a
permanent institutional feature of the NATO-Russia
relationship. This is a very positive step forward, and I
could not be happier about how well that has gone. I would
also say that the whole tone of the meeting was very positive
and very open and very warm. There was no hostility, no
accusations and charges on both sides.
Q: Were you surprised on this and how quickly it moved, and
there are reports that General Grachev, in fact, was pleased
and surprised at how quickly this moved.
SECRETARY PERRY: General Grachev, I thought, was very
positive and very pleased with the meeting. I had a bilateral
meeting with Mr. Grachev after the meeting, and that was even
more positive. So, yes, I think it was a very good meeting.
BACON: Thank you very much.
SECRETARY PERRY: Thank you.