The Dutch

The Hague
21 Oct. 1996

Secretary General's Speech

to the Dutch Atlantic Commission

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure for me to address the Dutch Atlantic Commission, which has such a high reputation for stimulating debate.

This is an exciting and fast-moving time for the Alliance. Next year we will complete NATO's process of adaptation and usher in a new era, not just for the Alliance but for Europe generally.

Of course, the decisions to be adopted will mark the culmination of a process, not its start. NATO has been evolving throughout the 1990s. Inevitably, the new NATO and its precise form and content have been the subject of great discussion and debate within the Alliance. But the pace of change is now accelerating towards a final outcome. The new NATO will emerge fully from the decisions to be taken next year.

While NATO continues to remain an essential organisation for the defence of the Allies, we have added vital new missions, important for today and tomorrow. If you look at what NATO is actually and actively doing today, the emphasis is on peacekeeping and crisis management, and on building cooperative security in Europe.

The conflict in Bosnia has demonstrated beyond any doubt that NATO is as necessary and valuable today as ever. Bosnia has demonstrated that NATO remains essential in Europe when action for crisis management is required. Bosnia saw its first chance for peace only when North Americans and Europeans put together their resources and determination.

IFOR itself was only possible because it was led and organised by NATO. NATO's engagement in Bosnia permitted a breakthrough in international peacekeeping efforts. IFOR has been able to fulfill its mission and to take robust and decisive action when necessary, thanks to NATO's leadership and ability. IFOR was organised by a NATO which had moved on from the Cold War, yet a NATO which retained its credibility and superb organisation.

Our presence in Bosnia has not only assured a smooth transition from conflict towards peace. The professionalism and expertise of the force has also been of immense help to the civilian agencies in a broad range of programmes - from road-building to election organisation. IFOR will continue to ensure a safe and secure environment in Bosnia in the months that remain until the last days of its mandate.

We are now looking in NATO at what might follow IFOR. As yet, we are looking at options. Last Friday, the North Atlantic Council approved, after consultations with non-NATO IFOR contributors, the political guidance for the NATO Military Authorities to start studying a possible follow-on military support for a secure environment necessary for the consolidation of peace in Bosnia after 1996. We expect the results of such a study early next month.

We do not know yet what precise tasks the force will be asked to fulfil. That will be determined in the months ahead, as the political framework for the next phase in Bosnia-Herzegovina will be developed - through conferences in Paris and London, through the UN, and in NATO.

At this point, we can only work on assumptions. In 1997 it is clear already that there will be a significant shift of emphasis towards the civil side of the Dayton Peace process - that a smaller, lighter force will be appropriate - that some tasks now done by IFOR could be transferred. A stronger police force could also be needed. What the military might have to do is therefore dependent on the wider context, which has yet to be determined. Nevertheless, we have started to ensure, through our contingency planning, that NATO's military will be ready if necessary to implement whatever may be decided politically over the months to come.

NATO's role in Bosnia and Herzegovina has highlighted how much NATO has changed externally. In other words, how far its relations with non-NATO countries have developed. The extent to which NATO has been changing as an organisation is not so well known. Internally our structures are increasingly reflecting the significantly different priorities the Alliance now has in the new security environment. The Allies have reduced their armed forces, while reconfiguring them to better carry out peacekeeping missions and crisis management. Readiness levels of forces have been lowered drastically. Many units which in the Cold War were trained and prepared to deploy in a matter of days have now had their deployment times extended to weeks and even months. On the other hand, we have created naval, land and air reaction forces able to respond rapidly to developing crises.

Capabilities, which were central to Cold War deterrence, now have a lesser role to play in our strategy. NATO's nuclear forces have been cut even more drastically - by over 80%! We have withdrawn all ground-launched nuclear systems from Europe, including missiles and artillery.

The change in NATO's policy is being reflected in a transformation of NATO's military command structure. In the Cold War NATO maintained an extensive system of command, ready to mount a simultaneous defence of NATO territory from the North of Norway to the East of Turkey. Today, it is no longer necessary to maintain such a large system of command. We are therefore reducing its size and streamlining it.

The new command structure, as well as being smaller, will contain two important innovations. The first is the introduction of the Combined Joint Task Forces concept. This will provide the Alliance for the first time with an expressly organised capability to deploy a peacekeeping force into a crisis area.

Instead of having to improvise a force when a crisis develops, there will in future be a command element in our structure whose task will be to prepare for rapid and effective assembly of a multinational peacekeeping force. Most significantly, this is not conceived as a NATO-only capability. From the outset, CJTFs are designed to operate with the participation of non-NATO countries.

The second innovation in the new structure is the growing role and responsibility of the Europeans within it. At the North Atlantic Council meeting in Berlin last June, Ministers of Foreign Affairs tasked the development of a visible European arrangement within the structure, which could be used for WEU-led operations.

I should perhaps explain this point more. It is an important one and what we are doing should not be misunderstood. In future crises NATO will continue to be fully capable of undertaking all missions, including non-Article 5 operations. Yet, it is also possible that these operations, which may differ in scale and in contribution by Allies, could also be launched by the WEU with NATO's help. We want to build that additional option - a European-led, WEU-directed operation - into our new structure. We cannot predict all possible contingencies, and we should not tie ourselves to one organisational response. The Western European Union has an important role to play, both in the context of the European Union and as European component of the Alliance. Under the concept of separable, but not separate forces, NATO is delivering on its promise made at the 1994 Brussels Summit to support the development of the ESDI.

The result of the ongoing work will be a military structure markedly different from that of the Cold War. The old structure was organised as a defence against the Warsaw Pact. The new structure will be organised to act for peace and stability with Partners, including Russia.

NATO is not only adapting internally to the new security environment in Europe. The Alliance is also setting up cooperative structures throughout Europe. In this case, allow me to refer in the first place to the Partnership for Peace initiative and its remarkable success. A feature of the new NATO is the growing association through PfP of our Partners with NATO activities and structures. Today's NATO is truly "a cooperative venture". All new missions and issues involve Partners. Allies and Partners are cooperating closely in dealing with the security challenges we face on our continent and much of this we can attribute to the practical cooperation forged by PfP.

PfP has already become the most extensive military cooperation programme in Europe's history. And it is not an exaggeration to say that, without PfP, the NATO-led Implementation Force in Bosnia would not, and perhaps could not, have been assembled and deployed so effectively and involved so many non-NATO troop contributors.

We intend to strengthen further relations with all our Partners. We are therefore working on a "PfP plus" - to make it clear that the security of an enlarged NATO and its Partners remains closely linked. This "PfP plus" will have a stronger political dimension; it will be more demanding in operational terms and it will involve Partners in many more of the activities now associated only with NATO members.

In making security and stability possible in the Europe of the next century, the new NATO will also accept new members. There should be no doubt about that. The Atlantic Alliance has a moral obligation to take in countries that, once the lines of confrontation in Europe had disappeared, are requesting to become full members of the community of Atlantic countries. We are moving to the point of taking a decision - probably at a Summit next year - on whom to invite.

Those who will be invited will be those who are ready to join, and who can contribute positively to European security by taking on the additional obligations and demands of being full members of NATO. In other words, those who join have to be ready and able to ensure a greater burden and responsibility for European security than before.

NATO will remain an organisation open to European countries, as specified in Article 10 of the Washington Treaty. To put it another way, NATO will not open up to some, just to close the shutters for others.

Russia need not fear the enlargement of NATO - because the NATO that is opening its doors is a different NATO than the one they imagine. For a start, it is a NATO that makes close cooperation with Russia an intrinsic part of its policy. It is also an Alliance which believes that Russia is a valuable contributor to European security. We do not want to isolate her or prevent her playing a role in Europe which her size or importance demands. A democratic Russia, engaged in Europe, is in everyone's interest.

A Russia that plays its full role in European security must have a strong and stable relationship with NATO. In this context, we are seeing progress. Our discussions are taking on a smoother and predictable rhythm. The substance of our relationship is also growing. In Bosnia, Russians are involved fully in the IFOR mission. In SHAPE, there is a Russian General working down the corridor from SACEUR. General Shevtsov and his staff are in daily contact with NATO staff on Bosnian issues.

The benefits of practical cooperation are becoming more visible. For example, we have had joint meetings on non-proliferation and several "16+1" meetings on former Yugoslavia. Soon we may have mutual representation at our Supreme Headquarters (SACEUR) and the Russian General Staff, and even NATO-Russian armaments cooperation could become a reality. Last March I signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in civil emergency planning. Similar agreements are currently being considered in the fields of scientific cooperation and environment. The trends in Russia-NATO relations are therefore more positive than most think. I am very hopeful we will develop both the structures and the substance of a permanent strategic partnership with the Russians in the coming months and years.

All the changes, in their totality, will result in a new NATO, reformed equally in purpose and structure. It will be an Alliance with a renewed strategic value, and fresh strategic energy, helping to shape European security on our continent. But NATO cannot and should not bear the burden alone.

The new NATO that I have just described will - in my view - open the way towards greater coherence between the key institutions concerned about European security and stability. The OSCE has a vitally important role to play, and it must be strengthened. Because of NATO and PfP, there is a dynamism in the cooperation between states which has never existed before. The OSCE can benefit from this. The relationship between NATO and OSCE should move ahead.

I also see the need to achieve strategic coherence between the two great motors of peace and stability on this continent: NATO and the European Union.

NATO and the EU working together towards the same strategic ends will have a profound effect on binding this continent together. Our joint weight is needed, in particular on embracing an outward-looking, democratic and prospering Russia and encouraging the positive development of Ukraine.

Another important strategic challenge before both organisations is to help stabilise the Mediterranean region and build a peaceful, friendly, economically vibrant area to our South. In the South, the European Union must take the lead, but NATO can help by intensifying our Mediterranean dialogue.

It is my profound conviction that NATO and the EU can shape the European political, economic and security landscape for a peaceful and prosperous future. Together, we have to face up to this great challenge and responsibility. That is why the results of the Intergovernmental Conference are important for NATO. And what we are doing in NATO is of direct relevance to the EU and the IGC. In NATO we are developing an instrument which a unifying Europe can use. But it cannot be used effectively if there is no European will to do so.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me conclude. We have reached a defining period for both NATO and Europe. The Alliance is moving rapidly towards a series of decisions - on a new military structure, on new members, on a "PfP plus" and on relations with Russia and Ukraine. These decisions will define the new NATO in all its scope and detail. The result will be an Alliance well and truly adapted to the challenges of the next century.

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