Updated: 27-Oct-2000 Ministerial Communiqus

at the
Meeting of

1 Apr. 1992


  1. We, NATO Defence Ministers and Representatives of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Defence Ministers and Representatives of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan met today in Brussels for the first time (1). We considered how we could deepen dialogue and promote cooperation between us on issues that fall within the competence of Defence Ministers.

  2. Much has already been done to develop the partnership between our countries. The Rome Declaration of the North Atlantic Alliance and the Work Plan for Dialogue, Partnership and Cooperation of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council as well as bilateral contacts and exchanges in the defence field provide an excellent basis for further progress. Today, in a spirit of friendship and goodwill, we discussed the contribution which we, as Defence Ministers, can make to this process in order to promote our common objectives.

  3. The positive changes in the security environment of recent years have major implications for the organisation of our defences. In this context, we are determined to achieve early entry into force without renegotiation and full implementation as soon as possible of the CFE Treaty and expect to see the Treaty in force by the time of the Helsinki Summit in July. In the interest of further strengthening security and stability in Europe, we also support the determination of the participants in the CFE IA negotiations to reach, in connection with the entry into force of the CFE Treaty, an agreement to limit the personnel strength of their conventional armed forces in time for the Helsinki Summit at the end of the CSCE meeting. We welcome the Open Skies Treaty and the Vienna CSBM Document 1992 as major new steps towards greater openness and confidence-building in the security field. Complementary bilateral and regional efforts aimed at achieving enhanced confidence and security can also make a positive contribution.

  4. We all agree on the importance of the safe, responsible and reliable control of the residual nuclear arsenals. We took note of the assurances given in this regard with respect to the reliability, security and single control of the nuclear weapons of the former Soviet Union. We equally took note of the intention of the states concerned to join the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as soon as possible as non-nuclear weapon states. We confirm the need to ensure full respect for the Treaty and to contribute in all possible ways to efforts aimed at preventing proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.

  5. Many of us are faced with major restructuring of defence efforts and some are addressing basic issues of defence organisation and planning for the first time. All of us can benefit from an intensification of contacts and cooperation. It is therefore with satisfaction that we note the progress which has already been achieved through an extensive visits programme, discussions, courses and frequent military contacts at all levels. But more can and will be done. To this end our Chiefs of Defence Staff will meet on 10 April 1992 in the framework of the first Meeting of the Military Committee in Cooperation Session. It will be the beginning of a regular series of meetings at the highest military level.

  6. Furthermore we have agreed that

    • a high level seminar on defence policy and management will be held covering the role and constitutional position of armed forces in democratic societies, as well as strategic concepts and their implementation; a key purpose will be to identify specific issues to be pursued during subsequent cooperation in defence related matters;

    • an initial workshop will address practical aspects of defence management and the reform and restructuring of armed forces. This will be followed up by several panel tours to capitals conducted by small groups of experts as well as by participation of cooperation partners in relevant NATO training;

    • a workshop will be held to provide an opportunity to share experiences and to identify the most suitable practices and work methods for the environmental clean-up of defence installations;

    • small teams of civilian and military defence experts, drawn as appropriate from several Alliance countries, could be sent, on request, to countries desiring advice. These teams will be made available as quickly as possible to assist in Ministries of Defence or other areas in the defence establishment and will be prepared to stay in place as necessary. Detailed arrangements for meeting the needs of cooperation partners can be pursued in the Group on Defence Matters;

    • further agreed activities of mutual interest in our field of responsibility will be organised in the framework of the Group on Defence Matters and reported to us or our representatives on a regular basis. The Group on Defence Matters could also act as a clearing house for proposals for cooperation in the defence field, including bilateral or multilateral activities not necessarily involving all of us.

    The aim is not only to increase mutual understanding and confidence among us, but also to provide practical assistance on defence related matters at a time of profound transformation and transition. NATO members have promised to make available for this purpose the considerable expertise and experience they have developed in defence related issues. The list at annex, which is not intended to be exhaustive, provides an initial basis for discussion of areas for cooperation in defence related matters.

  7. We have entered a new era of partnership amongst our states. The resulting improved understanding and transparency will help develop patterns of co-operation and create conditions that encourage peaceful solutions to political problems. We are determined to grasp this opportunity to deepen our relationships, enhance security and contribute to the evolving process of a Europe whole and free. In our capacity as Defence Ministers we shall therefore play a full part in dialogue, partnership and cooperation. We shall meet to review the progress of work in the defence field annually or more frequently should circumstances warrant it.


Areas for Further Cooperation in Defence Related Matters

The following is a list of possible areas for cooperation in defence related matters. There are various ways in which they could be addressed: seminars, workshops, panel tours, courses, bilateral or multilateral cooperation. Some topics will be most suited to military contacts, others dealt with primarily through civil channels; many will involve joint activities. As well as acting as a clearing house for proposals for cooperation, the Group on Defence Matters could also help organise activities in the following areas. The list is not intended to be exhaustive, but it could form the basis for a future work programme including practical activities.

  • MILITARY STRATEGIES: including discussion of concepts such as defensive sufficiency, stability, flexibility and crisis management.

  • DEFENCE MANAGEMENT:the planning and management of defence programmes in democratic societies, to include accountability, financial planning, programme budgeting and management, research and development, equipment procurement procedures, personnel management.

  • THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR MILITARY FORCES: the establishment of a constitutional framework, the position of armed forces in a democracy, the democratic control of armed forces and civil-military relations, parliamentary accountability.

  • HARMONISATION OF DEFENCE PLANNING AND ARMS CONTROL: the consequences of arms control for defence planning, the role of military forces in verification, proliferation, resource implications of CFE.

  • EXERCISES AND TRAINING: the philosophy, format, requirements and standards of training and exercises.

  • DEFENCE EDUCATION: organisation of education for both military and civilian defence personnel.

  • RESERVE FORCES: mix of active and reserve forces, force structures, training.

  • ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: the military and the environment, protection, conservation, clean-up of facilities.

  • AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL: military contribution to air traffic management.

  • SEARCH AND RESCUE: military contribution to search and rescue activities.

  • MILITARY CONTRIBUTION TO HUMANITARIAN AID: practical experiences, planning, coordination, civil-military cooperation.

  • MILITARY MEDICINE: organisation and practical issues (occupational health, preventive measures, hospital management, medical supply, education).


  1. Tajikistan attended as an observer Turkmenistan, although unable to be represented, has indicated that it wishes to be associated with this statement

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