Updated: 30 August 1999 NATO Review

Table of Contents

No 2 - Summer 1999
Volume 47

NATO Review Cover

Focus on NATO

  1. New Chairman of the Military Committee
  2. New Permanent Representative of Portugal


  1. The Washington Declaration

  2. Statement on Kosovo

  3. An Alliance for the 21st century

  4. The Alliance's Strategic Concept

  5. Membership Action Plan (MAP)

  6. Defence Capabilities Initiative


A defining moment for NATO:
The Washington Summit decisions and the Kosovo Crisis

Javier Solana
At April's 50th anniversary Washington Summit, Alliance leaders took a series of key decisions to better prepare NATO for the security challenges it may be confronted with in the next half-century. The fact that these issues were tackled in the midst of Europe's most serious crisis since the Alliance's inception attests to NATO's willingness to act in the face of a serious threat to stability on the continent. In responding to the Kosovo crisis, the Alliance has sent a strong signal that it will defend the basic values of the Atlantic community: liberty, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.


NATO's Humanitarian support to the victims of the Kosovo crisis
Ambassador Sergio Balanzino
In response to the mass expulsion of refugees from Kosovo by Yugoslav forces, NATO has forced a halt to this ethnic cleansing through an air campaign against the perpetrators, provided humanitarian assistance to the victims of this tragedy, and will soon begin helping the refugees return home. NATO has worked tirelessly to support the work of the humanitarian organisations in relieving the suffering of the refugees by coordinating the airlift and storage of relief supplies, building shelters and other infrastructure, providing emergency medical care, and much more. As NATO forces start implementing the peace, the challenge will be to help over one million refugees to return home to a safe and secure environment in Kosovo, and rebuild their homes and lives.


When force is necessary: NATO's military response to the Kosovo crisis
General Wesley K. Clark
After months of escalating repression against the Kosovar Albanians and a string of broken agreements with the international community, NATO took a stand against the military machine of Slobodan Milosevic on 24 March 1999. NATO's air operation sought to force Belgrade to stop its brutal ethnic cleansing campaign in Kosovo, while at the same time NATO forces have been providing humanitarian assistance to the victims of his onslaught. The success of the air campaign forced Milosevic to meet NATO's demands and laid the foundation for the implementation of peace. A NATO-led international force began to deploy immediately on the heels of the Serb withdrawal, its mission to implement the peace agreement and secure the return of hundreds of thousands of Kosovar refugees.


A new Strategic Concept for a new era
Anthony Cragg
One of the key results of the Washington Summit was the approval of the Alliance's new Strategic Concept. This document, the authoritative statement of the Alliance's objectives, sets out NATO's political and military strategy in the context of the major developments in European security since the end of the Cold War and reaffirms the Alliance's fundamental commitment to collective defence. Building on the 1991 Strategic Concept's approach towards a European security architecture based on cooperation and partnership rather than political confrontation and military competition, the new Concept also reflects new commitments in the fields of crisis management and partnership in order to enhance the security and stability of the Euro-Atlantic area.


The Membership Action Plan: Keeping NATO's door open
Ambassador Klaus-Peter Klaiber
NATO leaders demonstrated their commitment to keeping NATO's door open to new members by launching a Membership Action Plan (MAP) at their Summit meeting in Washington last April. A complement to existing Partnership structures, the MAP will help aspirants to set practical objectives and planning targets in their quest for membership and in obtaining feedback on their progress towards this goal. The MAP is not an automatic ticket to membership, but it does provide opportunities to strengthen an aspirant's candidacy for membership and, thus, will help future members climb the steps leading to NATO's open door.


NATO's Defence Capabilities Initiative -
Preparing for future challenges

Frank Boland
At last April's Washington Summit, Alliance leaders launched a Defence Capabilities Initiative to equip NATO for the defence and security challenges of the 21st century. NATO has already undergone a fundamental transformation since the early 1990s, with significant changes in its force and command structure, as well as taking on new tasks, including a developing crisis response capability as seen in Bosnia and Herzegovina and more recently in Kosovo. It has also developed the ability to support WEU-led operations. But work remains to be done, such as developing an effective rapid deployment capability and employing more advanced technologies, and this is what the new Initiative aims to bolster.


Towards a Partnership for the twenty-first century
Charles J. Dale
Partnership emerged as a central underlying theme at the Washington Summit. Plans were approved by Heads of State and Government for an enhanced and more operational Partnership which will provide additional tools to support the Alliance's role in Euro-Atlantic security in the new century. In addition, the updated Strategic Concept adopted in Washington establishes crisis management and Partnership as fundamental security tasks of the Alliance. The strengthened Partnership will also contribute to the effectiveness of two other Summit initiatives, the Defence Capabilities Initiative and the Membership Action Plan. Taken together, these decisions further cement the Partnership's role as a permanent fixture of Euro-Atlantic security for the next century.


The Summit Initiative on Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD): Rationale and aims
Crispin Hain-Cole
One of the innovative policies adopted by NATO leaders at the Washington Summit last April was an Initiative to ensure the Alliance's ability to address the challenge posed by the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). This Initiative, an integral part of the Alliance's ongoing adaptation, will integrate political and military aspects of Alliance work on WMD issues and complement other existing international efforts in this area. The centrepiece of the Initiative is the creation of a WMD Centre to facilitate Alliance-wide coordination on proliferation matters.

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