Washington Summit

  • 23 Apr. 1999 -
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  • Last updated: 06 Nov. 2008 00:56

During the Washington Summit (23-25 April 1999), NATO members commemorated the Alliance's 50th anniversary and made a number of important statements on the Alliance's current and future agenda for the 21st Century. These are summarised below.


NATO Heads of State and Government reiterated their determination to put an end to repressive actions against the local population by President Milosevic's regime, in the province of Kosovo. The Alliance is stepping up pressure on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) through intensified military actions. Allied governments are also putting in place additional measures to tighten the constraints on the FRY, including economic sanctions and an embargo on petroleum products. The Summit statement on Kosovo reaffirmed that NATO will intensify air operations against the Yugoslav war machine until President Milosevic meets the legitimate demands on the international community. In addition, on Sunday 25 April, NATO Heads of State and Government met with representatives of the neighbouring countries (Albania, Bulgaria, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia1, Romania, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia). They discussed the crisis in Kosovo, its impact on the region and longer-term strategies for future security, prosperity and stability in Southeastern Europe.

Adoption of a Membership Action Plan

The Washington Summit declaration and the adoption of the Membership Action Plan (MAP) underscore the Alliance's strong commitment to continuing the enlargement process. The MAP is specifically designed to provide concrete advice and assistance to aspiring members with their own preparations for possible future membership. NATO Foreign Ministers will keep the enlargement process, including implementation of the MAP, under continual review. NATO Heads of State and Government will review the process at their next Summit meeting which will be held no later than 2002.

A revised Strategic Concept

The Alliance has revised and updated its Strategic Concept which provides political and military guidance for NATO's future development. In particular, it is confirmed that as an Alliance of nations committed to the Washington Treaty and the UN Charter, it performs the following fundamental security tasks:

  • Security: To provide one of the indispensable foundations for a stable Euro-Atlantic security environment;
  • Consultation: To serve as an essential transatlantic forum for Allied consultations on any issues that affect their vital interests (Article 4 of the Washington Treaty);
  • Deterrence and Defence: To deter and defend against any threat of aggression against any NATO member state (Articles 5 and 6 of the Washington Treaty);

And in order to enhance the security and stability of the Euro-Atlantic area:

  • Crisis Management: To stand ready, case-by-case and by consensus, to contribute to effective conflict prevention and to engage actively in crisis management, including crisis response operations (Article 7 of the Washington Treaty);
  • Partnership: To promote wide-ranging partnership, cooperation, and dialogue with other countries in the Euro-Atlantic area, with the aim of increasing transparency, mutual confidence and the capacity for joint action with the Alliance.

Enhancement of the ESDI within NATO

The Alliance welcomed the results of the work undertaken in close cooperation with the Western European Union (WEU) to build the European Security and Defence Identity (ESDI) within NATO based on the decisions taken in Brussels in 1994 and Berlin in 1996. The key elements of a strong European security pillar within the Alliance are now in place, thus permitting the European Allies to carry out their own, WEU-led operations drawing on NATO's assets and capabilities. This will strengthen the transatlantic link and Alliance solidarity as a whole.

NATO also welcomed the new impetus given to the strengthening of a common European security and defence policy by the Amsterdam Treaty and the reflections launched since then in the WEU and, following the St Malo Declaration, in the European Union (EU). On this basis, Heads of State and Government set out a number of principles to guide further work in the Alliance and identified areas of future work.

Launching of the Defence Capabilities Initiative (DCI)

In view of today's changing security environment, NATO has decided to improve its defence capabilities to ensure the effectiveness of future multinational operations across the full spectrum of Alliance missions. The focus is on improving interoperability in areas such as the deployability and mobility of Alliance forces, their sustainability and logistics, their survivability and effective engagement capability, and command, control and information systems.

Strengthening of PfP and the EAPC

Two major documents were endorsed : the " Political-Military Framework for NATO-led PfP Operations " and " Towards a Partnership for the 21st Century - The Enhanced and more Operational Partnership ". These documents provide the basis for the continued evolution of the Partnership with a particular focus on a more operational PfP. In addition, they will support some of the Alliance's other initiatives which were also launched or endorsed at the Summit (revised Strategic Concept, DCI and MAP) by strengthening Alliance-Partner cooperation and enhancing the ability of Partners to contribute to future NATO-led PfP operations.

Enhancement of the Mediterranean Dialogue

At the Washington Summit, NATO Heads of State and Government reiterated their commitment to the progressive strengthening, through enhanced political and practical co-operation, of NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue with Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia.

Action against the proliferation of WMD

The Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Initiative launched at the Washington Summit seeks to expand understanding of proliferation issues and to focus appropriate attention on WMD risks. The WMD initiative will integrate political and military aspects of Alliance work, including through improved intelligence and information-sharing, enhanced public information and the creation of a WMD centre at NATO HQ. The WMD initiative will complement existing international regimes and arms control efforts under way to respond to the proliferation of WMD and their delivery means.

.) Turkey recognizes the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.