on the Ministerial
Meeting of the North Atlantic Council
- At their meeting in Brussels on 2nd and 3rd March 1988, the Heads of State and Government of the Alliance reaffirmed its guiding principles and stressed their determination to continue working for the advancement of our common ideals and goals. It was in this spirit that at our meeting in Madrid we reviewed the international situation and the challenges and opportunities before us, taking into account recent positive developments.
- Guided by our desire for a more peaceful and secure state of international affairs, we have continued since the Alliance Summit to consider the broad spectrum of issues concerning East-West relations and security, including arms control and the existing military force relationship. Against that background we discussed:
- the current situation in and prospects for Eastern Europe;
- the need for a substantial and balanced outcome of the CSCE Follow-up meeting in Vienna, at an early date, including significant progress on human rights and human contacts, and mandates for negotiations on conventional stability and confidence and security building measures;
- our continuing commitment to share equitably the risks, burdens and responsibilities, as well as the benefits of our common endeavour, and the need to renew our efforts to maintain, under evolving circumstances, a fair partnership, mindful of the structure of the Alliance.
- We welcome the results of the Summit meeting in Moscow between President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev, both for their substance and as a portent for the future development of East-West relations. We welcome the unprecedented prominence accorded to human rights in the joint statement of the Summit, and hope that a more forthcoming Soviet attitude will also be reflected in the CSCE concluding document. We support the progress recorded towards an agreement on a 50% reduction in United States and Soviet strategic nuclear weapons, and stress the importance we attach to this objective in seeking secuity at lower levels of armaments. We welcome the entry into force of the INF Treaty as an important step in our search for effectively verifiable arms control agreements in accordance with the declarations of our Heads of State and Government.
- The North Atlantic Council in Permanent Session has continued its consideration of the further development of the Alliance's comprehensive concept of arms control and disarmament as called for in the Statement issued in Reykjavik in June 1987. The Secretary General reported on the progress of this work and we look forward to receiving a written report at our next meeting in December.
- We welcome the beginning of Soviet troop withdrawals from Afghanistan after over eight years of occupation. We hope that the Geneva Accords .nark the start of a process which will enable the Afghan people to exercise their right to self-determination and enable their country to recover its full sovereignty and independence.
- The maintenance of calm and stability in and around Berlin and the improvement of conditions there, as envisaged in the current Berlin initiative, remain key elements in East-West relations. As the EC's European City of Culture for 1988, Berlin is again demonstrating its vitality and attractiveness.
- We greatly appreciate the hospitality of the Spanish Government and people on the occasion of our first meeting in Madrid. We take this opportunity to welcome again Spain's membership as yet another confirmation of the vitality of the North Atlantic Alliance. We also strongly support the process under way in response to proposals made by Spain for defining a significant Spanish military contribution to the common defence.
- On completion of his term of office, we paid tribute to the departing Secretary General, Lord Carrington, for his outstanding contribution to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. We expressed deep appreciation for his services to the strength and unity of the Alliance, and therefore to peace and freedom.