Updated: 31-Oct-2000 Ministerial Communiqus



26 May 1993

Final Communiqu

  1. The Defence Planning Committee and Nuclear Planning Group of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation met in Ministerial sessions in Brussels on 25th and 26th May.

  2. A central purpose of our meeting was to provide political guidance for defence planning activities in NATO, both national and collective, for the period up to 2000 and beyond. We met against a background of radical change in Europe, which has continued unabated since we last provided such guidance two years ago. In many countries of Central and Eastern Europe considerable progress has been made towards the goal of a Europe of politically and economically stable democracies. Overall, these changes have enhanced Alliance security. But this has to be balanced against instability in several parts of the continent. While the political and military threat of the past no longer exists, there is an increased risk of crises which may require the use of military forces in support of wider political efforts to resolve them. The persistence of armed conflicts in Europe and on its periphery is of particular concern to all Allies. Beyond the immediate human tragedy that such conflicts involve, many have the potential for further escalation and spillover affecting neighbouring states.

  3. We are profoundly disturbed by the situation in the former Yugoslavia and in particular by the war in Bosnia- Herzegovina and its attendant atrocities, which are an affront to all civilised principles and values and which continue despite all the efforts to reach a peaceful solution.We have contributed, individually and collectively, to the United Nations' efforts to alleviate the suffering through the provision of humanitarian aid and supported United Nations' efforts to end the conflict. The Alliance has made an important contribution under mandates provided by the United Nations' Security Council. The Alliance has been enforcing the no-fly zone over Bosnia-Herzegovina since 12th April, and, in the Adriatic, NATO and WEU vessels are enforcing UN sanctions, and are implementing a maritime blockade of Serbia and Montenegro.

  4. We remain committed to the achievement of a settlement to the conflict, which is threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, through the implementation of the Vance-Owen peace plan. We welcome efforts to promote a lasting and equitable solution to this conflict. In this context we discussed the most recent developments, and in particular the Joint Action Programme on Bosnia-Herzegovina announced on 22nd May by members of the United Nations Security Council (France, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States and the Russian Federation). We noted the importance attached to Safe Areas, and to sanctions and other measures designed to put pressure on the Bosnian Serbs to accept the peace plan. The United Nations will need to define clearly the scope of any new undertakings in these areas. We remain willing to consider positively any further request by the United Nations for assistance in enforcing Security Council Resolutions.

  5. Against the background of the very complex environment in which we are developing the Alliance's force structure and capabilities, we considered an initial report on the defence planning implications of support for UN and CSCE peacekeeping activities which we commissioned last December. Our challenge is to enhance further NATO's ability to respond quickly and effectively to requests to support such activities. The primary role of Alliance military forces, to guarantee the security and territorial integrity of member states, remains unchanged. At the same time, support for peacekeeping is a growing commitment which can place new demands on our national and collective resources. We have concluded that in general well equipped and well trained general purpose forces are best suited to carry out peacekeeping tasks, although consideration needs to be given to additional training and equipment requirements for particular missions. Our collective defence arrangements are well-suited to developing and training forces for all these missions. We are also reviewing our logistics, infrastructure and communications planning to ensure effective support for peacekeeping.Work will continue in these and other areas and we shall review progress at our next meeting.

  6. Working together with our co-operation partners in supporting peacekeeping under UN or CSCE auspices makes an important contribution to security and stability in Europe. We welcome the work of the North Atlantic Co-operation Council to define a conceptual framework for peacekeeping co-operation and to identify practical actions to enhance our ability to act jointly in support of peacekeeping operations. We will play our full part in this co-operative process. We look forward to an intensified programme of practical activities, which could include joint planning, training and exercises, with our co-operation partners.

  7. We approved the 1993 Ministerial Guidance, which marks the beginning of NATO's two-year force planning cycle. This is a key NATO defence planning document which provides direction to NATO's Military Authorities in developing force proposals for NATO nations and addresses political, military, civil and economic factors which could affect the development of NATO forces. The document assesses the likely impact of these factors on the implementation of the Alliance strategy and on the preparation of Alliance force proposals, and plans for logistics, civil emergency planning, and armaments co-operation. The cohesion of the Alliance depends on the equitable sharing of the burdens, including the costs, as well as the benefits of common defence.While the overall size of national defence efforts is an important element of burdensharing, member nations' contributions to co-operation and dialogue with emerging democracies of Eastern and Central Europe also contribute to alliance security. In accordance with the Alliance's Strategic Concept, we underlined the importance of providing adequate resources, both to maintain an effective military contribution to the common defence and to ensure the implementation of NATO's new roles and missions.

  8. The process of adapting to the Alliance's new strategy and implementing its new force structure is well under way. As we adapt our forces to new challenges, the provision of new capabilities required for NATO's more mobile and flexible force structure are also valuable contributions to the shared responsibilities of common defence. Our aim is to develop a range of capabilities and formations, many of which will be multinational, in order to be able to respond flexibly to a wide spectrum of possible contingencies. Reaction forces will play an important part in this structure and an effective capability is already being developed. Elements of our maritime reaction forces are, for example, enforcing sanctions against the former Yugoslavia; the multinational ACE Rapid Reaction Corps should become fully operational by 1995; and the Air Reaction Forces Planning Staff was activated in April. Rapid progress is also being made in restructuring the main defence forces which provide the bulk of the Alliance's overall capabilities. Three new multinational main defence corps (two German-US and one Netherlands-German) are being established within the Integrated Military Structure, and an agreement has been concluded which sets out arrangements for the availability in the framework of the Alliance of the European Corps which France and Germany have created.

  9. The political situation is, however, continuing to evolve rapidly and our military authorities are therefore reviewing the Alliance's detailed force structure and force levels to ensure that NATO remains fully capable of meeting the new security challenges. We welcomed a status report on the work so far and look forward to a final report in December. We have directed that the conclusions of this final report be taken into account in developing the Alliance's 1994 Force Goals which we will consider next Spring.

  10. The commitment of North American Allies to peace and stability in Europe and the presence of US forces in Europe remains vital to the security of Europe which is inseparably linked to that of North America. Our efforts to develop a coherent new force structure have been aided by the welcome decision of the United States to maintain a significant military capability in Europe, able to contribute to the full range of NATO tasks.

  11. In parallel, and consistent with the transformation of the Alliance, the Western European Union is developing its role and is strengthening the European pillar of the Alliance. Since the move of its Council and Secretariat to Brussels last January, the close working relationship between us has been further enhanced, in the spirit of transparency and complementarity between the two organisations. We shall continue to seek cost- effective arrangements and avoid duplication in meeting the challenges of the new security environment.

  12. We took the opportunity of this meeting to reaffirm our commitment to effective armaments co-operation. We welcomed recent agreements to reform the policies, structures and procedures for NATO armaments co-operation in order to make them more responsive to the challenges of the 1990s. We noted that the Conference of National Armaments Directors (CNAD) has begun an investigation of the potential for a NATO-wide approach to ground surveillance and has proposed a defence trade code of conduct for the Alliance. We also welcomed new initiatives taken by the CNAD to improve the co-ordination of activity within the Alliance on Extended Air Defence, and to develop a new strategy to promote defence research and technology development within NATO.

  13. We approved a report on the urgent renewal of the NATO common funded Infrastructure Programme. The renewal will ensure that this important programme remains fully in line with our Strategic Concept and force structure, while providing the necessary flexibility to meet NATO's new roles and missions. Recognising resource limitations, we agreed that the renewed programme should concentrate on the common funding of infrastructure requirements over and above those which could reasonably be expected to be covered from national resources, while not excluding exceptional common funding on a case-by-case basis.

  14. We also noted with satisfaction the Terms of Reference of the Senior Resource Board which has been established with delegated responsibility for all NATO common funded military resource allocation issues. The Board will ensure increasingly integrated and cost-effective use of scarce NATO resources, and its establishment will enable existing NATO committee structures and procedures to be streamlined and simplified.

  15. We reaffirmed the essential role for the Alliance of effective nuclear forces, including sub-strategic forces widely based in Europe, maintained at the minimum level necessary to ensure security and stability. The reduction and restructuring of NATO's sub-strategic European nuclear force posture and stockpile which we endorsed at our October 1991 meeting in Taormina has been completed well ahead of schedule. Following last year's removal of all ground-launched and naval tactical nuclear weapons, the substantial reduction of air-delivered weapons has now been accomplished. Reflecting the changed security environment, NATO's European nuclear stockpile has been reduced by over 80 percent compared to its size two years ago.

  16. We welcome the earlier announcement of the Russian Government that it, like NATO, has withdrawn all naval tactical nuclear weapons from submarines and surface ships. We also welcome the signature of the START II Treaty by the United States and Russia which will, when implemented, bring about a further, historic reduction in the strategic nuclear forces of the two countries. Implementation of this Treaty is conditional upon entry into force of START I; it is thus of great importance for the disarmament process that all parties ratify that agreement and abide by their commitments under the Lisbon protocol. We strongly support the early elimination, in accordance with these and other commitments, of tactical and strategic nuclear weapons of the former Soviet Union, and welcome the efforts by a number of Allies to assist safe and secure weapons storage and dismantlement and disposal of associated fissile material.

  17. In view of the dangers inherent in the proliferation of nuclear weapons, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is essential for the preservation of security and stability: we shall be working for global accession and adherence and a strengthened verification regime. In this regard we call on those states who are not yet parties to the treaty to accede as soon as possible as non-nuclear weapon states. We support the indefinite extension of the NPT in 1995. We remain seriously concerned over the recent announcement of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea of its intention to withdraw from the NPT. We call upon that government to reaffirm its commitment to the NPT, retract its announcement, and honour its non-proliferation obligations.

  18. The full implementation of the CFE Treaty, in particular the timely fulfilment of the reduction obligations, remains of considerable importance to European security. We are co-operating closely with partners to enable them to meet their obligations. We are also actively contributing to current discussions in the CSCE Forum for Security Co-operation in Vienna. In particular, we support efforts to promote greater transparency in defence plans, which should contribute to greater understanding and increased confidence among all CSCE participants.

  19. The main task of NATO defence planning remains to ensure the preparedness of Allied forces and their supporting structures to contribute to the Alliance's overall security objectives. There is also a need to ensure continuing coherence of national defence programmes in order for the Alliance to fulfil its full range of tasks at a time when the security environment is placing more diverse demands on our armed forces than ever before. A stabilisation of defence expenditures, as well as a more cost effective use of our national and collective resources are thus necessary to enable the Alliance to respond in a timely and effective way to the challenges of the future.

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