Updated: 27-Oct-2000 Ministerial Communiqus



19 Dec. 1991

Final Communiqué

Chairman: Manfred Wörner


Fundamental changes in the Soviet Union and republics - support for political and economic reforms - Rome Summit decisions on cooperation in addition to dialogue and collective defence - New approach to security - Relations with Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe - Inaugural meeting of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council - Developments in the Soviet Union and republics - Implementation of the Soviet Union's international commitments in arms control and under the CSCE process - Control over and non-proliferation of Soviet nuclear weapons and technology - NATO's involvement in humanitarian assistance to peoples of the Soviet Union and republics - Community of shared values - Progress towards democratic pluralism, respect for human rights and market economies in Central and Eastern Europe - Respect for ceasefire agreements in Yugoslavia with a view to prompt deployment of UN peace-keeping force - Pursuit of peace process and negotiated solution - NATO part in framework of interlocking institutions in new European security architecture - Rome initiatives to strengthen CSCE political structures and institutions - NATO to establish appropriate relationship with CSCE including contributions to future meetings - European security identity and defence role - Maastricht decisions on common foreign and security policy and European Union - Future contribution of WEU - Links between WEU and NATO, including synchronisation of venues and meetings and harmonisation of working methods - Arms control: ratification and implementation of CFE Treaty - CFE IA, CSBMs and Open Skies negotiations - Emerging consensus on Helsinki follow-on negotiations - Policy guidelines for preparation of Helsinki Follow-Up Meeting: Establishment of European security forum; strengthening security and stability through arms control and minimum force levels commensurate with legitimate security needs; institution of permanent security dialogue; enhancement of CSCE - Post Helsinki work programme - Security at minimum levels of nuclear arms - Ratification and implementation of START agreement - Dangers of proliferation - Strengthening of Non-Proliferation Treaty - Global, verifiable ban of chemical weapons - UN register for conventional arms transfers.

  1. We, the Foreign Ministers of the Atlantic Alliance have met at a time when dramatic developments are taking place in Europe. The Soviet Union and the republics are undergoing fundamental changes. Leaders there, like those in the other countries of Central and Eastern Europe, are pursuing far- reaching political and economic reforms. In this endeavour, they expect support and cooperation from us. Against this background, the decisions taken by our Heads of State and Government at their Summit in Rome, which emphasise NATO's role as a source of stability for the whole of Europe, assume a special importance by adding the dimension of cooperation to the Alliance's traditional approach of dialogue and collective defence. At the same time, the member states of the European Community have taken decisive steps at the European Council meeting in Maastricht to deepen their integration and to establish their common foreign and security policy in order to assume greater responsibility in Europe. As all countries of Europe and North America draw more closely together in a community of shared values, and their relationship becomes increasingly one of partnership, we will be able to realise in full the new and broad approach to security which was set out in the Rome Declaration and the Alliance's new Strategic Concept.

Relations with the Soviet Union and the Other Countries of Central and Eastern Europe

  1. The inaugural meeting tomorrow of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council will enhance our liaison relationship with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and launch a new era of partnership. Our consultations and cooperation will focus on security and related issues where Allies can offer their experience and expertise. They are designed to aid in fostering a sense of security and confidence among these countries and to help them transform their societies and economies, making democratic change irreversible.

  2. We have consulted closely on developments in the Soviet Union and the republics. In the interest of peace and security, we look to all the leaders to take matters forward in an orderly and democratic manner, as they develop towards a common ground of cooperation. We will lend our individual and collective support to help the Soviet Union and the republics move towards these objectives. The Allies have a legitimate interest in seeing viable arrangements established between the republics for implementing the Soviet Union's international arms control and disarmament obligations. We urge the leaders of the Union and the republics to respect the Soviet Union's commitments under the Helsinki Final Act, the Charter of Paris and other CSCE documents. We call on them to comply fully with the provisions of arms control agreements to which the Soviet Union is a signatory.

  3. We expect the leaders of the Union and the republics to ensure the safe, responsible and reliable control of nuclear weapons and actively to prevent the proliferation of those weapons or other means of mass destruction. We are ready to respond as fully as possible to requests for practical assistance in achieving these objectives. In this context, we have discussed efforts and proposals made by individual Allies. We will monitor the situation in the Soviet Union and the republics, coordinate our efforts and contribute to the international effort to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction. In particular, we will actively encourage the Soviet Union and the republics to take firm measures to prevent the unauthorised export of nuclear or other destabilising equipment and technology. We will continue to consult actively on these and on other developments in the Soviet Union and the republics, with a view to harmonising our approach to these rapidly unfolding events.

  4. We agreed upon the gravity of the problems being experienced by the peoples of the Soviet Union and the republics, as they grapple with the difficult transition to democracy and a market economy, in obtaining food, medicine and other basic necessities. We agreed that these problems pose a serious threat to the reform process, and to stability in Europe. We recognise the urgent nature of the humanitarian needs and stand ready to support peace as effectively as we have deterred aggression. In that spirit, the relevant bodies of the Alliance will now draw up plans to make its unique expertise and capabilities, such as the coordination capabilities in the Senior Civil Emergency Planning Committee, available to assist in the urgent transportation and distribution of humanitarian assistance. Also, the efforts of the militaries of those NATO members participating in this enterprise, working jointly and with others, including the Soviet military, to alleviate human suffering in the Soviet Union and the republics, can help demonstrate again that the Cold War is behind us, and that a new community of shared values and interests is taking root.

  5. We have also consulted closely on developments in the other nations of Central and Eastern Europe. We welcome the continuing progress towards democratic pluralism, respect for human rights and market economies. We encourage these nations to continue their reforms and contribute to the further implementation of CSCE commitments and arms control agreements.


  1. We condemn the continuing violence and deplore the loss of life in Yugoslavia. We strongly urge all parties to respect ceasefire agreements in order to allow the prompt deployment of a UN peacekeeping force. We also urge all parties actively to pursue the peace process through UN efforts and the Hague Conference called by the EC on the mandate of the CSCE to find a negotiated solution to this crisis. We will continue to consult closely on the situation in Yugoslavia.

A Security Architecture For Europe

  1. The peace and security of Europe will increasingly depend on a framework of interlocking institutions which complement each other, since the challenges we face cannot be comprehensively addressed by one institution alone. We are determined to ensure that our Alliance will play its full part in this framework.


  1. We are actively pursuing the initiatives taken by our Heads of State and Government in Rome to strengthen the CSCE process. We are determined to contribute towards decisions to be taken at the CSCE Council in Prague in January to develop the political structures and the institutions of the CSCE and to provide guidelines for the further pursuit of this work at the Helsinki Follow-Up Meeting in March. We intend to ensure that the Helsinki Summit next summer marks an important step in consolidating the new European architecture and in strengthening CSCE's institutions and mechanisms. We are convinced that the CSCE must develop the means to promote the implementation of existing commitments. We further believe that the CSCE should fulfil its increasingly important role in furthering cooperation and security in Europe by fostering democratic change, securing freedom, and developing and applying effective instruments for conflict prevention, the peaceful settlement of disputes and crisis management.

  2. The CSCE has frequently sought contributions to meetings from various international organisations within their spheres of competence. The Alliance stands ready to make its own collective experience available to CSCE and will seek to establish an appropriate relationship with the CSCE. Following the conclusions of the meeting of the CSCE Council in Berlin, we look forward to exchanging information and relevant documents and to the Alliance contributing as such, on the same basis as other international organisations, other than the European Community, and in a manner consistent with CSCE precedent and practice, to future CSCE meetings on subjects in which it has relevant expertise.

European Security Identity And Defence Role

  1. In the spirit of our Alliance's Rome Declaration, we welcome the decisions taken at Maastricht by the European Council on the common foreign and security policy of the European Union which shall include all questions related to the security of the European Union, including the eventual framing of a common defence policy, which might in time lead to a common defence, and by the member states of the Western European Union on the role of WEU and its relations with the European Union and with the Atlantic Alliance. We note with satisfaction the European Council's agreement that the common foreign and security policy of the European Union shall be compatible with the common security and defence policy established within the framework of the North Atlantic Treaty. Enhancing European responsibility on defence matters while strengthening the solidarity and cohesion of the transatlantic partnership will greatly contribute to our common security.

  2. We support the objective of developing WEU as the defence component of the European Union and as a means of strengthening the European pillar of the Atlantic Alliance. We welcome the fact that in stating their aim of introducing joint positions into the process of consultation in the Alliance, the WEU member states have affirmed that the Alliance will remain 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. We are appreciative of WEU's stated intention to strengthen the role, responsibilities and contributions of the WEU member states in the Alliance and to act in conformity with the positions adopted in the Alliance. We welcome the invitation to member states of the European Union to accede to the WEU, or to become observers if they so wish, and the simultaneous offer to other European member states of NATO to become associate members of WEU, giving them the possibility of fully participating in its activities. This will help ensure the necessary transparency and complementarity between the emerging European security identity and defence role and the Alliance.

  3. We reciprocate WEU's preparedness to develop further close working links between WEU and the Alliance. We stand ready to implement practical arrangements to this end, including close the synchronisation of dates and venues of meetings and the harmonisation of working methods. We have today tasked the Council in permanent session to develop as soon as possible with the WEU proposals for the appropriate arrangements.

Arms Control

  1. Stability and security on the European continent require the full implementation of all arms control agreements, in particular the CFE Treaty. We urge all CFE signatories which have not already done so to move forward promptly with the Treaty's ratification. It is critical that all relevant political authorities assume their responsibility in the new architecture of cooperative security in Europe and take all necessary actions to ensure that the CFE Treaty is respected, ratified and implemented.

  2. We are hopeful that the new proposals introduced by the Allies in Vienna will enable us to conclude successfully the CFE 1A and the CSBM negotiations by the time of the Helsinki Follow-Up Meeting. We urge our negotiating partners to work constructively with us towards this goal. We welcome the progress made in Vienna in the Open Skies negotiations and express our strong hope that agreement can be achieved in time for the Helsinki Follow-Up meeting.

  3. The Helsinki meeting will mark a turning point in the arms control and disarmament process in Europe, and we are actively engaged in developing a common approach. The CSCE Council of Ministers on 19th-20th June 1991 launched informal preparatory consultations aimed at establishing at the Helsinki Follow-Up Meeting new negotiations on disarmament and confidence- and security-building. They decided that formal preparatory negotiations for the new forum would take place at the Helsinki Follow-Up Meeting. We have followed closely and participated in these informal preparatory consultations, carefully noting the views of CSCE partners. A broad measure of consensus is already apparent. In the period leading to the Helsinki meeting and at the meeting itself, we propose that our negotiators and those of our CSCE partners should be guided by the following broad policy objectives:

    • in order to achieve our goal of a new cooperative order in which no country need harbour fears for its security, we should establish a European security forum in a manner which preserves the autonomy and distinct character of the various different elements in the process, but which also ensures coherence between them;

    • we should strengthen security and stability through the negotiation of concrete measures aimed at keeping the levels of armed forces in Europe to the minimum commensurate with common and individual legitimate security needs, within Europe and beyond: these may entail further reductions of armed forces;

    • we should institute a permanent security dialogue, in which participants will be able to address legitimate security concerns, and which will foster a new quality of transparency and cooperation about armed forces and defence policies. This dialogue should contribute to the strengthening of the achievements of the Helsinki process in the field of security; and

    • we should enhance the ability of CSCE institutions, including the Conflict Prevention Centre, to reduce the risk of conflict, through the full and open implementation of agreed measures in the security field, and through the elaboration of relevant conflict prevention and crisis management techniques.

    We consider it important that, in addition to setting the broad objectives for the new process, the Helsinki Follow-Up Meeting should establish a concrete work programme for the first phase of the process. In our view, early attention should be given to:

    • appropriate harmonisation of arms control obligations in Europe, which will provide a basis for consideration of further limitations and, to the extent possible, reductions of armed forces;

    • negotiated confidence-building and cooperative measures, designed to ensure greater transparency and predictability in military affairs;

    • cooperation to support and enhance existing multilateral non-proliferation regimes, including in the field of transfer of conventional weapons; and

    • enhancement of mechanisms and instruments for conflict prevention and crisis management.

    We envisage that some measures may appropriately be devised on a selective or regional basis.

  4. We will continue to work for security at minimum levels of nuclear arms sufficient to preserve peace and stability. Ratification of the START agreement and its early implementation together with the implementation of the decisions of President Bush and President Gorbachev to reduce unilaterally nuclear weapons are of fundamental importance to future security and stability.

    The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and of their means of delivery undermines international security. It will be our priority task to enhance the authority of the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), and to further its worldwide adherence. We also deem it essential to complete a global, comprehensive and effectively verifiable ban on chemical weapons next year. We reaffirm our belief that transfers of conventional armaments beyond legitimate defensive needs to regions of tension make the peaceful settlement of disputes less likely. In this context we welcome the decision to establish a universal register of conventional arms transfers under United Nations auspices.

  5. The Spring 1992 meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Ministerial Session will be held in Oslo in June.

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