Declaration on Peace and Cooperation

issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the Meeting of the North Atlantic Council ("The Rome Declaration")

  • 08 Nov. 1991 -
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  • Press Release S-1(91) 86
  • Issued on 08 Nov. 1991
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  • Last updated: 26 Aug. 2010 10:11

  1. We, the Heads of State and Government of the member countries of the North Atlantic Alliance, have gathered in Rome to open a new chapter in the history of our Alliance. The far- reaching decisions we have taken here mark an important stage in the transformation of NATO that we launched in London last year.
  2. The world has changed dramatically. The Alliance has made an essential contribution. The peoples of North America and the whole of Europe can now join in a community of shared values based on freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. As an agent of change, a source of stability and the indispensable guarantor of its members' security, our Alliance will continue to play a key role in building a new, lasting order of peace in Europe: a Europe of cooperation and prosperity.

A New Security Architecture

  1. The challenges we will face in this new Europe cannot be comprehensively addressed by one institution alone, but only in a framework of interlocking institutions tying together the countries of Europe and North America. Consequently, we are working toward a new European security architecture in which NATO, the CSCE, the European Community, the WEU and the Council of Europe complement each other. Regional frameworks of cooperation will also be important. This interaction will be of the greatest significance in preventing instability and divisions that could result from various causes, such as economic disparities and violent nationalism.

The Future Role of the Alliance: Our New Strategic Concept

  1. Yesterday, we published our new Strategic Concept . Our security has substantially improved: we no longer face the old threat of a massive attack. However, prudence requires us to maintain an overall strategic balance and to remain ready to meet any potential risks to our security which may arise from instability or tension. In an environment of uncertainty and unpredictable challenges, our Alliance, which provides the essential transatlantic link as demonstrated by the significant presence of North American forces in Europe, retains its enduring value. Our new strategic concept reaffirms NATO's core functions and allows us, within the radically changed situation in Europe, to realise in full our broad approach to stability and security encompassing political, economic, social and environmental aspects, along with the indispensable defence dimension. Never has the opportunity to achieve our Alliance's objectives by political means, in keeping with Articles 2 and 4 of the Washington Treaty, been greater. Consequently, our security policy can now be based on three mutually reinforcing elements: dialogue; cooperation; and the maintenance of a collective defence capability. The use, as appropriate, of these elements will be particularly important to prevent or manage crises affecting our security.
  2. The military dimension of our Alliance remains an essential factor; but what is new is that, more than ever, it will serve a broad concept of security. The Alliance will maintain its purely defensive purpose, its collective arrangements based on an integrated military structure as well as cooperation and coordination agreements, and for the foreseeable future an appropriate mix of conventional and nuclear forces. Our military forces will adjust to their new tasks, becoming smaller and more flexible. Thus, our conventional forces will be substantially reduced as will, in many cases, their readiness. They will also be given increased mobility to enable them to react to a wide range of contingencies, and will be organised for flexible build-up, when necessary, for crisis management as well as defence. Multinational formations will play a greater role within the integrated military structure. Nuclear forces committed to NATO will be greatly reduced: the current NATO stockpile of sub-strategic weapons in Europe will be cut by roughly 80% in accordance with the decisions taken by the Nuclear Planning Group in Taormina . The fundamental purpose of the nuclear forces of the Allies remains political: to preserve peace, and prevent war or any kind of coercion.

European Security Identity and Defence Role

  1. We reaffirm the consensus expressed by our Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Copenhagen. The development of a European security identity and defence role, reflected in the further strengthening of the European pillar within the Alliance, will reinforce the integrity and effectiveness of the Atlantic Alliance. The enhancement of the role and responsibility of the European members is an important basis for the transformation of the Alliance. These two positive processes are mutually reinforcing. We are agreed, in parallel with the emergence and development of a European security identity and defence role, to enhance the essential transatlantic link that the Alliance guarantees and fully to maintain the strategic unity and indivisibility of security of all our members. The Alliance is the essential forum for consultation among its members and the venue for agreement on policies bearing on the security and defence commitments of Allies under the Washington Treaty. Recognising that it is for the European Allies concerned to decide what arrangements are needed for the expression of a common European foreign and security policy and defence role, we further agree that, as the two processes advance, we will develop practical arrangements to ensure the necessary transparency and complementarity between the European security and defence identity as it emerges in the Twelve and the WEU, and the Alliance.
  2. We welcome the spirit in which those Allies who are also members of the Twelve and the WEU have kept the other members of the Alliance informed about the progress of their ongoing discussions on the development of the European identity and about other issues, such as their peace efforts in Yugoslavia. Appropriate links and consultation procedures between the Twelve and the WEU, and the Alliance will be developed in order to ensure that the Allies that are not currently participating in the development of a European identity in foreign and security policy and defence should be adequately involved in decisions that may affect their security. The Alliance's new Strategic Concept, being an agreed conceptual basis for the forces of all Allies, should facilitate the necessary complementarity between the Alliance and the emerging defence component of the European integration process. As the transformation of the Alliance proceeds, we intend to preserve the operational coherence we now have and on which our defence depends. We welcome the perspective of a reinforcement of the role of the WEU, both as the defence component of the process of European unification and as a means of strengthening the European pillar of the Alliance, bearing in mind the different nature of its relations with the Alliance and with the European Political Union.
  3. We note the gradual convergence of views in the discussions concerning the developing European security identity and defence role compatible with the common defence policy we already have in our Alliance. We feel confident that in line with the consensus in Copenhagen, the result will contribute to a strong new transatlantic partnership by strengthening the European component in a transformed Alliance. We will help move this development forward.

Relations with the Soviet Union and the Other Countries of Central and Eastern Europe: A Qualitative Step Forward

  1. We have consistently encouraged the development of democracy in the Soviet Union and the other countries of Central and Eastern Europe. We therefore applaud the commitment of these countries to political and economic reform following the rejection of totalitarian communist rule by their peoples. We salute the newly recovered independence of the Baltic States. We will support all steps in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe towards reform and will give practical assistance to help them succeed in this difficult transition. This is based on our conviction that our own security is inseparably linked to that of all other states in Europe.
  2. The Alliance can aid in fostering a sense of security and confidence in these countries, thereby strengthening their ability to fulfil their CSCE commitments and make democratic change irrevocable. Wishing to enhance its contribution to the emergence of a Europe whole and free, our Alliance at its London Summit extended to the Central and Eastern European countries the hand of friendship and established regular diplomatic liaison. Together we signed the Paris Joint Declaration. In Copenhagen last June, the Alliance took further initiatives to develop partnership with these countries. Our extensive programme of high level visits, exchanges of views on security and other related issues, intensified military contacts, and exchanges of expertise in various fields has demonstrated its value and contributed greatly to building a new relationship between NATO and these countries. This is a dynamic process: the growth of democratic institutions throughout Central and Eastern Europe and encouraging cooperative experiences, as well as the desire of these countries for closer ties, now call for our relations to be broadened, intensified and raised to a qualitatively new level.
  3. Therefore, as the next step, we intend to develop a more institutional relationship of consultation and cooperation on political and security issues. We invite, at this stage of the process, the Foreign Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria, the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Poland, the Republic of Romania, and the Soviet Union to join our Foreign Ministers in December 1991 in Brussels to issue a joint political declaration to launch this new era of partnership and to define further the modalities and content of this process. In particular, we propose the following activities:
    • annual meetings with the North Atlantic Council at Ministerial level in what might be called a North Atlantic Cooperation Council;
    • periodic meetings with the North Atlantic Council at Ambassadorial level;
    • additional meetings with the North Atlantic Council at Ministerial or Ambassadorial level as circumstances warrant;
    • regular meetings, at intervals to be mutually agreed, with:
    • NATO subordinate committees, including the Political and Economic Committees;
    • the Military Committee and under its direction other NATO Military Authorities.
  4. This process will contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the CSCE without prejudice to its competence and mechanisms. It will be carried out in accordance with the core functions of the Alliance.
  5. Our consultations and cooperation will focus on security and related issues where Allies can offer their experience and expertise, such as defence planning, democratic concepts of civilian-military relations, civil/military coordination of air traffic management, and the conversion of defence production to civilian purposes. Our new initiative will enhance participation of our partners in the"Third Dimension" of scientific and environmental programmes of our Alliance. It will also allow the widest possible dissemination of information about NATO in the Central and Eastern European countries, inter alia through diplomatic liaison channels and our embassies. We will provide the appropriate resources to support our liaison activities.

The Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe

  1. We remain deeply committed to strengthening the CSCE process, which has a vital role to play in promoting stability and democracy in Europe in a period of historic change. We will intensify our efforts to enhance the CSCE's role, in the first instance by working with the other participating CSCE states to ensure that the Helsinki Follow-Up Meeting in 1992 will be another major step towards building a new Europe. The CSCE has the outstanding advantage of being the only forum that brings together all countries of Europe and Canada and the United States under a common code of human rights, fundamental freedoms, democracy, rule of law, security, and economic liberty. The new CSCE institutions and structures, which we proposed at our London Summit and which were created at the Paris Summit, must be consolidated and further developed so as to provide CSCE with the means to help ensure full implementation of the Helsinki Final Act, the Charter of Paris, and other relevant CSCE documents and thus permit the CSCE to meet the new challenges which Europe will have to face. Our consultations within the Alliance continue to be a source of initiatives for strengthening the CSCE.
  2. Consequently, we will actively support the development of the CSCE to enhance its capacity as the organ for consultation and cooperation among all participating States, capable of effective action in line with its new and increased responsibilities, in particular on the questions of human rights and security including arms control and disarmament, and for effective crisis management and peaceful settlement of disputes, consistent with international law and CSCE principles. To this end, we suggest:
    • that the CSCE Council, the central forum for political consultations, continue to take decisions on questions relating to the CSCE and the functions and structures of the CSCE institutions;
    • that the Committee of Senior Officials serve as the coordination and management body between Council sessions and that it acquire a greater operational capacity and meet more frequently, with a view to ensuring the implementation of decisions;
    • that the CSCE's conflict prevention and crisis management capabilities be improved: as one contribution, in addition to the functions entrusted to it by the Paris Charter, the means available to the Conflict Prevention Centre should be strengthened and made more flexible to enable it to fulfil the specific tasks assigned to it by the CSCE Council and the Committee of Senior Officials;
    • that specific tasks based on a precise mandate by the CSCE Council or the Committee of Senior Officials might be entrusted to ad hoc groups;
    • that the decisions taken at the Helsinki Follow-Up Meeting ensure complementarity among CSCE activities in the security field including, inter alia, conflict prevention, arms control and consultations on security;
    • that consideration should be given within the CSCE to develop further the CSCE's capability to safeguard, through peaceful means, human rights, democracy and the rule of law in cases of clear, gross and uncorrected violations of relevant CSCE commitments, if necessary in the absence of the consent of the state concerned;
    • that the Office for Free Elections be transformed into a broadly focused Office of Democratic Institutions to promote cooperation in the fields of human rights, democracy and the rule of law;
    • that the monitoring and promotion of progress on human dimension issues be continued in the form of periodic meetings of short duration on clearly defined issues;
    • that further political impetus be given to economic, scientific and environmental cooperation so as to promote the basis of prosperity for stable, democratic development.

Arms Control

  1. We strongly support President Bush's initiative of 27th September 1991 which has opened new prospects for nuclear arms reduction. We also welcome President Gorbachev's response. We particularly applaud the decision of both sides to eliminate their nuclear warheads for ground-launched short-range weapons systems. The Allies concerned, through their consultations, have played a central role in President Bush's decision which fulfilled the SNF arms control objectives of the London Declaration. They will continue close consultations on the process of the elimination of ground-based SNF warheads until its completion. We will continue to work for security at minimum levels of nuclear arms sufficient to preserve peace and stability. We look forward to the early ratification of the recently signed START agreement.
  2. We note with satisfaction the recent achievements in the fields of conventional arms control and disarmament. We reiterate the paramount importance we attach to the CFE Treaty and call upon all CFE signatories to move forward promptly with its ratification and implementation. We urge our negotiating partners to work with us to reach substantial agreements in the CFE IA and CSBM negotiations, and remain dedicated to achieving concrete results by the time of the CSCE Helsinki Follow-Up Meeting. We welcome the resumption of the Open Skies negotiations; we look forward to agreement on an Open Skies regime by the time of the Helsinki Meeting as an important new element in greater openness and confidence-building in the military field.
  3. The Helsinki Meeting will mark a turning point in the arms control and disarmament process in Europe, now with the participation of all CSCE states. This will offer a unique opportunity to move this process energetically forward. Our goal will be to shape a new cooperative order, in which no country needs to harbour fears for its security, by:
    • strengthening security and stability at lower levels of armed forces to the extent possible and commensurate with individual legitimate security needs both inside and outside of Europe;
    • conducting an intensified security dialogue within a permanent framework and fostering a new quality of transparency and cooperation about armed forces and defence policies; and
    • promoting effective mechanisms and instruments for conflict prevention.
  4. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and of their means of delivery undermines international security. Transfers of conventional armaments beyond legitimate defensive needs to regions of tension make the peaceful settlement of disputes less likely. We support the establishment by the United Nations of a universal non-discriminatory register of conventional arms transfers. We support steps undertaken to address other aspects of proliferation and other initiatives designed to build confidence and underpin international security.
  5. We also deem it essential to complete a global, comprehensive and effectively verifiable ban on chemical weapons next year. We welcome the positive results of the Third Review Conference of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, in particular the decision to explore the feasibility of verification.

Broader Challenges

  1. Our Strategic Concept underlines that Alliance security must take account of the global context. It points out risks of a wider nature, including proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, disruption of the flow of vital resources and actions of terrorism and sabotage, which can affect Alliance security interests. We reaffirm the importance of arrangements existing in the Alliance for consultation among the Allies under Article 4 of the Washington Treaty and, where appropriate, coordination of our efforts including our responses to such risks. We will continue to address broader challenges in our consultations and in the appropriate multilateral forums in the widest possible cooperation with other states.
  2. The North Atlantic Alliance was founded with two purposes: the defence of the territory of its members, and the safeguarding and promotion of the values they share. In a still uncertain world, the need for defence remains. But in a world where the values which we uphold are shared ever more widely, we gladly seize the opportunity to adapt our defences accordingly; to cooperate and consult with our new partners; to help consolidate a now undivided continent of Europe; and to make our Alliance's contribution to a new age of confidence, stability and peace.
  3. We express our deep appreciation for the gracious hospitality extended to us by the Government of the Italian Republic.