towards democracy in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe
proceeds rapidly but the first indications appear that it will be
an uneven process. By May 1991, signs of the break-up of Yugoslavia
and the onset of civil war in major parts of the country become
unmistakable. Croatia and Slovenia declare their independence but
elsewhere conflict flares up. Unprecedented contacts take place
between NATO and the representatives of the newly independent states
of Eastern Europe to ensure their future cooperation but at the
same time as the shadow of the Yugoslavian conflict spreads over
Europe, a dark shadow looms over the Soviet Union itself.
1991, a coup against President Gorbachev threatens to reverse the
process of reform and democratisation in the Soviet Union. Gorbachev
dismantles the military leadership, disbands the Communist Party
and the repressive KGB security system and hands power to the newly
Further sweeping cuts in nuclear forces are underway, including
reductions in NATO's sub-strategic nuclear weapons in Europe by
80 percent. Allied leaders meeting again at Summit level in Rome
issue a new Strategic Concept reflecting their intention to streamline
NATO forces, undertake further arms reductions and reorganise NATO's
Military Command Structure.The
development of cooperation with other countries is a central part
of the new Concept. Unlike earlier generations of NATO's strategic
planning documents, the new Concept is made available to the public.
Summit also announces the creation of the North Atlantic Cooperation
Council or NAC-C, the forum which will serve for the next five years
as the focal point for cooperation between NATO and its new Partners.
meets for the first time on 20 December 1991, the day on which the
Soviet Union ceases to exist. By the end of the year Mr. Gorbachev
has formally relinquished his functions as President of the Soviet
Union and Supreme Commander-in-Chief of Soviet Forces. A Commonwealth
of Independent States is created, joining former constituent republics
of the USSR in a new form of security structure.