Final Communiqué

Meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Defence Ministers Session

  • 13 Jun. 1996
  • |
  • Press Release M-NAC(DM)-2(96) 089
  • Issued on 13 Jun. 1996
  • |
  • Last updated: 10 Dec. 2010 15:40

  1. For the first time in 30 years NATO Defence Ministers met at the level of the North Atlantic Council in Brussels on 13th June 1996. This historic event confirms the vital importance of the Alliance as the principal foundation of stability, security and co-operation in the Euro-Atlantic area. We also meet as Alliance forces are participating in Operation JOINT ENDEAVOUR, the largest and most complex operation NATO has ever undertaken, a mission to help bring peace and stability to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Collective defence remains the core function of the Alliance; but today's challenges to our security and to the stability of Europe as a whole are more diverse and more complex than those NATO faced during its first four decades. To meet these challenges we require forces, structures and procedures that can respond effectively to contingencies ranging from collective defence to crisis management and peacekeeping, and contribute to the Alliance's broader approach to security issues.
  2. The Alliance has made far-reaching changes since 1990 in adapting itself to the new security environment. We have significantly reduced our forces and readiness levels, and our forces have been realigned in accordance with the Strategic Concept to enable them to perform their missions more effectively. The decisions of our Heads of State and Government at their meeting in January 1994 were a landmark in the process of the Alliance's evolution in all its aspects, including the adaptation of its procedures and structures, its relations with its Partners and the intensification of efforts against the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and their means of delivery.
  3. We warmly welcomed the decisions taken by Alliance Foreign Ministers in Berlin on 3rd June to carry further the ongoing adaptation of Alliance structures. We endorsed and will oversee and take forward the defence and military aspects of these decisions. Our goal is to adapt the Alliance in order to ensure NATO's continuing effectiveness, efficiency and flexibility; to enable it to carry out its full range of missions with the participation of all Allies, based on our readiness to pursue common security objectives through the Alliance wherever possible; and to build, with the participation of all Allies, a European Security and Defence Identity (ESDI) within NATO. As Defence Ministers, we are determined to play our part in shaping the new NATO.
  4. We welcomed the approval of the Combined Joint Task Forces (CJTF) concept and noted in particular that arrangements will be made for the participation of all Allies in CJTF nuclei established in Alliance headquarters. CJTFs -- multinational and multiservice formations established for specific contingency operations -- will provide a more flexible and efficient means to enable the Alliance to generate forces at short notice. The CJTF concept will also help to improve co-operation with the WEU. It will in addition facilitate the participation of non-NATO nations in the Alliance's new missions.
  5. We directed the NAC in Permanent Session with the advice of the NATO Military Authorities to take forward the implementation of the CJTF concept to the satisfaction of all Allies, as a matter of priority, including in particular the location, size, number and structure of CJTF headquarters elements and their operating procedures, taking into account the evolving work on the future NATO command structure. This should include facilitating participation by Partners in CJTF at an early stage. There should be continuing co-ordination with the WEU. We requested the Council in Permanent Session to report on progress at our meeting in December. We decided that, as part of this process, an exercise should be conducted as soon as practicable, based on the deployment of a CJTF for a NATO-led contingency operation. We also invite the WEU to work with NATO on the preparation for a subsequent CJTF exercise based on a WEU- led operation.
  6. We instructed the Military Committee to develop rapidly the terms of reference for a Capabilities Co-ordination Cell. It will provide staff support to the Military Committee on contingency related matters and assist the Military Committee in providing planning guidance to the Major NATO Commanders. We have also instructed the NATO Military Authorities to develop the terms of reference of the Combined Joint Planning Staff which would perform centralised CJTF headquarters planning functions and co-ordination with all relevant headquarters, as well as with forces that might serve under a CJTF headquarters, and as appropriate with the WEU Planning Cell.
  7. A key aspect of the Alliance's ongoing adaptation is the review of NATO's command structure. We welcomed the continuing progress of the Military Committee's Long-Term Study and in particular the approval of the Military Committee's revised directive for military implementation of Alliance strategy which provides the conceptual basis for continuing the process of adapting the military structure of the Alliance.
  8. We directed the Military Committee to continue its work on the Long-Term Study on the basis of decisions taken in Berlin. This further work should also take account of the need for a single, multinational command structure, respecting the principle of unity of command, in which all nations should have an appropriate role, capable of performing its core function of collective defence and, through flexible and agreed procedures, of undertaking new roles in the changing circumstances, taking full advantage of the CJTF Concept; the need to improve NATO's effectiveness and flexibility; the continued involvement of the North American Allies across the command and force structure; the development, with the participation of all European Allies, of the ESDI within the Alliance; the need to be able to absorb enlargement without major restructuring; and the need for cost effectiveness. Adaptations should not be driven only by savings but every attempt should be made to reduce running costs. Arrangements should be developed to provide for increased participation of Partner countries. We requested the Council in Permanent Session to provide any necessary further political guidance. We look forward to speedy progress in completing this task and have asked the Council in Permanent Session with the advice of the NATO Military Authorities to make recommendations on the possible outlines of the future command structure and related key issues for decision at our next meeting in December.
  9. We welcomed the establishment of a Policy Co-ordination Group (PCG) which will, as directed, provide politico-military advice to assist the Council in managing and ensuring timely overall direction of Alliance military operations, particularly crisis management operations. It will also provide advice on related policy and procedures and contribute to Council decisions on other topics of a politico-military nature in the adaptation of the Alliance.
  10. We associated ourselves with the tasking to the Council in Permanent Session given in paragraph 8 of the Communiqué of Foreign Ministers meeting in Berlin on 3rd June . The Council should keep the progress of this work under close review and report with recommendations on decisions also to us at our next meeting. We asked the Secretary General to provide a progress report at our informal meeting at Bergen on 25th-26th September.
  11. Further, as part of NATO's contribution to developing ESDI within the Alliance, we have tasked our Permanent Representatives, with advice from the NATO Military Authorities, and with participation of all Allies, to review the defence planning process to ensure that it continues to develop the forces and capabilities needed to conduct the full range of Alliance missions and in addition is able to support within the Alliance all European Allies in planning for the conduct of WEU- led operations. This work should be completed in time to be considered at our December meeting.
  12. We have asked the Council to keep under review the work on the Long-Term Study, on the implementation of the CJTF concept and on the adaptation of the Alliance according to the principles agreed in Berlin, including the building, with the participation of all Allies, of the ESDI within the Alliance, to ensure they are conducted in a rapid, consistent and mutually compatible way and to report to us in December.
  13. The Alliance is making a major contribution to the efforts of the international community to bring peace to the former Yugoslavia by leading the Implementation Force (IFOR) which has been mandated to ensure that the military provisions of the Peace Agreement are fulfilled. All of the Allies and 16 non-NATO states are co-operating closely to carry out this demanding mission. The IFOR experience has highlighted the need to expand the scope of PfP missions beyond peacekeeping, humanitarian operations, and search and rescue to include the full range of Alliance new missions.
  14. We applaud the achievements of IFOR. This complex operation has already contributed substantially to establishing a stable environment for building peace. It has been made possible because of the courage, skill and sacrifices of the forces of the Alliance and other participants in the operation. We pay tribute to the selfless efforts of these men and women and to their professionalism and determination. We affirm our confidence in their ability to perform their demanding tasks. We express our deepest sympathy to the families of those who have given their lives in the cause of peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  15. We discussed the challenges IFOR is likely to face during the rest of its mandate. The last milestone stipulated in the military annex to the Peace Agreement occurred on 18th April (D+120). IFOR's military mission will remain of prime importance between now and the end of its mandate. We call on the parties to comply fully with the Peace Agreement and will insist on full adherence to the provisions of the military annex.
  16. We noted with satisfaction that IFOR is providing increasing support for the civil aspects of the Peace Agreement within the limits of its resources and of the demands of its primary mission, in such areas as the conduct of elections, the return of refugees and displaced persons, and the maintenance of law and order. By continuing to ensure a secure environment and promote freedom of movement, IFOR will also make an important contribution to creating the conditions for free and fair elections. We will also continue to support the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia . The apprehending of war criminals and the investigation of war crimes are essential to bring justice and durable peace to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  17. We confirmed that given the magnitude of the task ahead, IFOR will be maintained at approximately its current force levels through September, when the elections are due to take place. Its overall capability will be retained until the end of its mandate. We invited the Council in Permanent Session to ensure that military planning proceeds accordingly.
  18. We welcomed the contribution of arms control to promoting stability in the former Yugoslavia. The Agreement on Confidence and Security Building Measures is a promising starting point to foster co-operative and trustful relations amongst the parties. We called on the Parties concerned to build on this and to ensure that arms are at the lowest level consistent with the Parties' respective security and the need to avoid an arms race in the region. We regretted the fact that the Parties had not yet concluded an agreement on sub-regional arms control and urged them to overcome their differences quickly and conclude the negotiated agreement.
  19. We extend our appreciation to Admiral Leighton Smith on the occasion of his forthcoming retirement for his invaluable contribution to the operation as Commander IFOR.
  20. Our defence efforts addressing proliferation risks are an integral part of the continued adaptation of the Alliance to the new security environment. These efforts will also play an important role in the enhancement of NATO's capabilities and will improve the Alliance's overall capacity to accomplish all of its required missions. In particular, we recognised the need for placing greater emphasis on the protection of deployed forces. While prevention remains our primary aim, we recognise that proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) weapons and their delivery means poses risks to NATO and can pose a direct military threat.
  21. In this context we noted with satisfaction the culmination of the work programme of the Senior Defence Group on Proliferation (DGP) initiated at the 1994 Brussels Summit and endorsed the DGP's recommendations to improve Alliance military capabilities to address the risks posed by NBC proliferation. These capabilities will support NATO's central objectives for dealing with proliferation: prevent proliferation from occurring or reverse it through diplomatic means, deter use, and protect NATO territory, populations and forces from NBC attack. The substantial progress made by the DGP over the past two years provides a solid basis for continued co-operation among all Allies and, where appropriate, with Partners on relevant defence issues related to proliferation. An accelerated plan for action has been adopted, including arrangements for defining new force goals for the Allies concerned. We look forward to receiving follow-on reports from the DGP and other NATO bodies concerned on progress made in improving Allies' capabilities including prospects for common funding/procurement or multinational efforts and on further policy development.
  22. We expressed our deep satisfaction with the overall development of Partnership for Peace which enhances security and stability within the Euro-Atlantic area. It has become a permanent element of the European security architecture. PfP will play an invaluable role in preparing new members for the responsibilities and requirements that accession to the Alliance brings. It will also serve as a means of strengthening relations with Partner countries which do not join the Alliance early or at all, thereby avoiding the creation of new dividing lines in Europe. We welcome the Council report on enhancements to the Partnership, and will play an active part in taking forward the defence and military aspects of these enhancements. We note our responsibility for providing resources to NATO's Partnership programmes, and request the Council in Permanent Session to provide recommendations for our consideration in December to ensure that appropriate resources are available to support the evolution of the Partnership.
  23. The Partnership Work Programme for 1996 to 1998 in particular represents a marked increase in the scope and number of PfP activities, all of which are designed to promote understanding between the Alliance and its Partners and the capacity -- and habit -- of common action in the interest of peace. We attach importance to the growth of defence-related co-operation in such areas as civil-military relations, defence procurement, air defence, the development of defence policy, and civil emergency planning. More extensive co-operation in these and other fields will strengthen the political-military character of the Partnership. We welcome the decision by Austria to take part in the PfP Planning and Review Process (PARP) and the significant progress by the participants in this process in implementing their interoperability objectives.
  24. The immediate practical value of the Partnership, has been vividly demonstrated in the course of operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where 12 Partners are co-operating in IFOR with the Allies and with other non-NATO nations. This operation has benefitted from the experience and increased interoperability gained through PfP activities, in particular joint exercises and the PARP.
  25. We agreed on the need further to deepen and broaden the PfP programme and the PARP. We shall consider further steps in this direction in the light of the IFOR experience, including the extent to which interoperability objectives for Partners should be adapted to cover the full range of the Alliance's new missions. It is our intention to increase opportunities for Partners to assume greater responsibility in shaping co-operative programmes including an increased involvement of Partners in our efforts to promote security through regional co-operation. We tasked our Permanent Representatives to address and provide specific proposals for our meeting in December. In this regard we welcome and endorse the proposal for a joint Allied-Partner rolling evaluation of the lessons learned from political and military co-operation in IFOR with a view to applying such lessons to strengthening the PfP.
  26. We reaffirmed our commitment to open NATO to new members, initiated by the meeting of NATO Heads of State and Governments in January 1994. The intensified dialogue with interested Partners now under way is an important step in this process. We welcomed the progress to date in this dialogue and expect it to continue in a manner that allows Partners to improve their understanding of specific and practical details of Alliance membership and NATO to learn more about possible contributions of individual Partners.
  27. We noted the Secretary General's interim report on the internal adaptations for enlargement required to maintain the effectiveness of the Alliance. We agreed that it will be important in this work to take into account other aspects of the Alliance's internal adaptation. We look forward to reviewing progress in this area at our next meeting.
  28. In keeping with Russia's weight and importance, the development of a stable and enduring partnership between NATO and Russia is an essential element in the security of the Euro- Atlantic area. We welcome the important NATO-Russia consultative and co-operative steps to date and wish to expand their scope and deepen our relations with Russia both on the political and the military levels, based on both multilateral and nationally- sponsored activities. We recalled the Alliance's proposals made last September for an enhanced dialogue and for a political framework to guide our security co-operation and consultations; and would welcome the development of permanent mechanisms for political consultations. We look forward to our discussions with our Russian colleague tomorrow.
  29. The Alliance's co-operation with Russia in IFOR has been especially noteworthy. We have tasked the Council in Permanent Session to mandate NATO Military Authorities, in furtherance of our goal of enhancing contacts between the Alliance and Russian Military Authorities, to consider how to build upon the experience of close and purposeful collaboration in the IFOR operation including the possibility of a permanent liaison mission along the lines of that established for IFOR. Such collaboration can serve as a catalyst for the further development of the kind of NATO-Russia relationship we seek -- one of mutual respect, confidence, and friendship.
  30. We attach great importance to the Alliance's relations with Ukraine. We are convinced that an independent, democratic and stable Ukraine has an important part to play in reinforcing European stability. We noted with great satisfaction that all nuclear weapons have now been transferred from the territory of Ukraine for dismantlement. The development of the enhanced relationship agreed last year is under way. We are pleased with Ukraine's active participation in the Partnership for Peace, and Ukraine is making a valuable contribution to Operation JOINT ENDEAVOUR. We would welcome still closer co-operation. We welcome Ukraine's engagement in bilateral and regional co-operation efforts such as the Polish-Ukrainian peacekeeping battalion and the recent Peace Shield exercise.
  31. We welcome the progress achieved in the political dialogue with a number of Mediterranean countries as well as the programme of activities undertaken within its framework. We are convinced that this Mediterranean dialogue, which today is under way with Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia, contributes to a better mutual understanding with a view to providing stability in the region. We will endeavour for our part to provide our support to the further development of this dialogue.
  32. We welcomed the successful outcome of the recent CFE Review Conference in Vienna at which all 30 CFE states reaffirmed their commitment to preserve the integrity of the Treaty as the basis for stability and security in Europe and to its full implementation. We note with satisfaction that a solution was found to the flank issue in a co-operative manner, also reaffirming the continued relevance of the basic structures of the Treaty including the principle of zonal limitations. We now look forward to its full and timely implementation while underscoring the importance of full respect for the sovereignty of the States Parties involved. We welcomed the agreement by the States Parties to the Treaty to begin discussions aimed at defining the scope and parameters of a process aimed at improving the operation of the Treaty in a changing environment. We encouraged all participants to work co-operatively to this end, while also emphasising the importance of full compliance with all obligations under the Treaty and related documents as a contribution to continued good relations among all States Parties.
  33. The Alliance's activities must be supported by adequate resources. The process of fundamental change in the Alliance, embracing both new initiatives as well as the traditional task of common defence, has created new requirements, as has the need to provide resources for the NATO common-funded share of Operation JOINT ENDEAVOUR. It is our firm intention to ensure the availability of appropriate human and financial resources for these important programmes, in order to sustain in the future the necessary flexibility and effectiveness of the Alliance and co-operation with our Partners. The achievement of this goal will be facilitated through the development of updated, appropriate and cost-effective structures and the rigorous application of priorities.
  34. NATO armaments co-operation continues to play an important role in national efforts to meet the evolving military needs of the Alliance. In particular, during the past year, the Conference of National Armaments Directors (CNAD) has contributed to the preparation of Alliance forces to undertake an expanded range of missions by addressing the equipment implications of peacekeeping operations and NATO's defence efforts against proliferation. CNAD activities have also made an important contribution to PfP. This meeting of the Council noted the annual report of the CNAD, and we intend in the future to provide collective guidance on the direction of NATO armaments co-operation. We continue to support efforts to develop and procure an Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) capability, namely a minimum essential NATO owned and operated core capability supplemented by interoperable national assets, taking account, for example, of the need for affordability and cost-effectiveness and national planning and budgetary processes. We note that the NATO Military Authorities are examining the relative priority, timing and attendant rationale for this AGS capability.
  35. The Alliance has begun a new phase in its history. With the far-reaching changes that have been put in train, a new NATO is emerging with renewed forces, structures and procedures. Based as before on a firm transatlantic partnership, it will also support the development, with the participation of all the European Allies, of a European Security and Defence Identity within the Alliance. But its fundamental purpose will remain unchanged: to ensure the security of its members and to make an invaluable contribution to international peace, security and stability.