Updated: 31-Oct-2000 Ministerial Communiqus


24th May 1994

Final Communiqué

  1. The Defence Planning Committee and Nuclear Planning Group of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization met in Ministerial Session in Brussels on 24th May.

  2. At this first meeting of Alliance Defence Ministers since the Brussels Summit, we reviewed the progress being made to adapt our defence posture and capabilities to undertake the full spectrum of Alliance roles and missions in the changed security environment, including the defence implications of decisions taken at the Summit. We affirmed our determination to maintain the momentum of the Summit initiatives, with particular emphasis on Partnership for Peace, Combined Joint Task Forces and Proliferation.

  3. Collective defence remains the core function of the Alliance; but today's challenges to our security and to the stability of Europe as a whole are more diverse and more complex than those NATO faced during its first four decades. To meet these challenges we require forces, structures and procedures that can respond effectively to contingencies ranging from collective defence to peacekeeping, and contribute to the Alliance's broader approach to security issues. We therefore approved new defence planning targets (the 1994 NATO Force Goals) designed to ensure that our collective defence arrangements continue to provide for the full range of Alliance responsibilities.

  4. We reviewed events in Bosnia-Herzegovina. We condemned the continuing fighting and attendant atrocities. We welcomed progress in establishing a federation between the Bosniacs and the Bosnian Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina. We expressed our support for the efforts of the international community, most recently in Geneva on 13th May, to bring the parties to the conference table to negotiate a just and equitable solution to the conflict.

    We stated our support for a settlement that preserves Bosnia-Herzegovina as a single Union within its internationally recognised borders, while providing for constitutional arrangements that establish the relationship between the Bosniac-Croat and the Bosnian Serb entities. Alliance forces and those of individual Allies have played a major role in support of the United Nations in the former Yugoslavia, and we acknowledged in particular the contribution made by NATO's decisions of 9th February and 22nd April towards easing the suffering of the civilian population in the UN declared safe areas.

    As Defence Ministers we paid tribute to the contribution made by our forces under difficult and often dangerous circumstances. We reaffirmed that the security of Allied and UN personnel must continue to be given a high priority. We also registered our appreciation for the efforts of the NATO Military Authorities in planning and implementing Alliance involvement in operations in the former Yugoslavia. We confirmed our willingness to continue Alliance support for United Nations operations and the ongoing peace process.

  1. Events in the former Yugoslavia and elsewhere have underlined the growing complexity of and demand for peacekeeping operations. The Alliance is making an important practical contribution in support of the United Nations in ways that benefit the international community as a whole, and make the most effective use of collective Alliance and individual Allied military capabilities and expertise. In parallel, we are continuing to enhance our ability to meet future requests to support peacekeeping operations. Efforts to this end build on the solid foundation of our existing defence capabilities and where necessary complement these. In this context we noted the work related to peacekeeping of the various senior committees responsible for defence planning and invited these committees to continue this work. We also acknowledged the importance of cooperation with our partners in the North Atlantic Cooperation Council and Partnership for Peace in this field.

  2. We discussed defence aspects of the progress achieved in implementing the Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme. The PfP represents both a qualitative and quantitative evolution in our highly successful cooperation with Partners. It is aimed at expanding and intensifying political and military cooperation, and thereby increasing stability. We noted with satisfaction that 18 countries have now joined the PfP. We also welcomed the establishment of the Partnership Coordination Cell at Mons and the construction of offices for Partners at NATO Headquarters within five months of the Summit as clear examples of our commitment to pursuing the Partnership with vigour.

  3. Much of the practical cooperation under PfP will involve activities including exercises and other programmes designed to enable NATO and partner forces to work more closely together in such fields as peacekeeping, search and rescue and humanitarian operations and others as may be agreed. As Ministers of Defence we are determined to give our full support to strengthening links with partner countries in these and other fields, including the progressive development of a defence planning and review process under PfP auspices. One of the Alliance's priorities in developing concrete and practical measures of cooperation is a robust PfP exercise programme. As a part of this effort we expressed our appreciation to the Netherlands for its offer to host a multinational field training exercise later this year. We also look forward to a SACLANT-hosted maritime exercise with Partners later this year, and welcomed the offer by Poland to host an exercise in the Autumn of 1994.

  4. We look forward to the presence later today at NATO Headquarters of General Pavel Grachev, Defence Minister of Russia, and expressed the hope that Russia and other eligible nations which have expressed a desire to join PfP will do so shortly. We similarly look forward to tomorrow's meeting with our colleagues from partner countries.

  5. We attached particular importance to the development of the Combined Joint Task Force concept to enable the Alliance to conduct more efficiently and more flexibly its missions, including peacekeeping. The Combined Joint Task Force concept is also a means of improving cooperation with the Western European Union and facilitating the involvement of non-NATO partners in the new roles and missions as envisaged under PfP. As part of the adaptation of the Alliance's political and military structures to support the full range of its missions and the development of the emerging European Security and Defence Identity, it is an essential stage in NATO's continuing process of renewal and transformation. We will ensure that the concept is implemented in a manner consistent with the principle of developing separable but not separate capabilities for use by NATO or the WEU.

  6. We are able to reach out to our partners with a confidence reinforced by the enduring strength of the transatlantic relationship, and by the development of an increasingly important and coherent European contribution to our common security. We reconfirmed the indispensability of both the direct involvement of the United States and Canada in the security of Europe, including the continued presence in Europe of substantial United States forces, and the need for the European allies to take on greater responsibility on defence matters. We also welcomed the close and growing practical cooperation between NATO and the WEU on issues related to the situation in the former Yugoslavia, and in work on the CJTF concept based on the agreed principles of complementarity and transparency.

  7. We reiterated our concern that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means constitutes a threat to international security, and recalled the commitment made at the January Summit to intensify and expand NATO's political and defence efforts against proliferation. In this regard we reviewed with satisfaction work recently begun in the Senior Defence Group on Proliferation to assess the proliferation threat and to consider how better to protect against it, and we look forward to receiving recommendations in the future. While we reaffirmed that the primary aim is to prevent proliferation in the first place, we agreed that the Alliance, as a collective defence organisation, should act to meet the risks and the potential threat that proliferation might cause to the security of one or more of its members.

  8. In an uncertain world, the Alliance must maintain the military forces and capabilities necessary for all of its roles and missions. The requirements of support for collective defence and peacekeeping in the new strategic environment are significantly different from those in the past. Adjustments to forces and readiness levels have to be accompanied by continuing equipment modernisation, improvements in mobility, sustainability and command and control, and the establishment of effective arrangements for training and mobilisation. This requires the provision by all Allies of adequate resources for investment to ensure operational effectiveness of their forces. We therefore agreed on the importance of making efforts to stabilise defence expenditure to provide this investment.

  9. As part of the regular process of reviewing our defence plans, we also adopted a new set of Force Goals as planning targets for the Allies in developing the forces and capabilities needed to implement the Alliance's Strategic Concept. These Force Goals represent an important milestone in NATO's transition and provide an authoritative baseline for our future force structure. Although the agreement of these planning targets does not represent a formal commitment, we agreed that nations should be willing to adjust their force plans and priorities to meet collectively agreed Force Goals. In endorsing the Force Goals we agreed that further work is needed to review readiness requirements and to enhance Alliance capabilities in a number of areas, especially in the provision of strategic assets, including transport, logistics, and command, control and communications. We tasked NATO's political and military authorities accordingly.

  10. We received a new, annual report on armaments co-operation within the Alliance. NATO's armaments community has been undergoing a process of revitalisation and reform, and we noted with satisfaction the actions of the Conference of National Armaments Directors (CNAD) to address some pressing requirements, for example the work on ground surveillance and extended air defence capabilities for the Alliance. Progress in these areas would contribute significantly to our efforts to develop new capabilities and forces for crisis management, and to address the dangers of proliferation.

  11. Following the major changes in the European security situation, the NATO Air Defence Committee (NADC) has reviewed the Alliance's long term air defence programme. We welcomed the renewed programme which has as its aim maintaining the coherence of NATO's air defence structure. The NADC has emphasized the need for a credible multinational air defence, and has outlined critical areas for which further detailed consideration is required. This committee is also developing a concept for an extended air defence capability.

  12. We reviewed the status of the Alliance's nuclear posture and reaffirmed the essential role of nuclear forces, including sub-strategic forces widely deployed in Europe at the minimum level necessary to preserve peace and stability. We were briefed by the United States on the status of their ongoing Nuclear Posture Review, and we welcomed the opportunity for high level consultation on key issues under review. We welcomed completion in the very near future of the steps announced earlier this year by the United States, United Kingdom, and Russian Federation to detarget all strategic nuclear missiles under their respective commands. We expressed satisfaction with this important gesture marking the improved strategic climate between former Cold War adversaries.

  13. The nuclear threat against NATO has receded profoundly with the end of the Cold War. A number of concerns do, however, remain. One of the most significant is the need for control of the nuclear arsenal of the former Soviet Union to be maintained. This includes safe and secure transport and storage of all weapons, and the safeguarding and final disposal of material recovered from the large numbers of weapons to be dismantled. Any loss of control of nuclear weapons or related critical material could pose a very serious risk to the Alliance's security. We reiterated our support for the assistance provided by many NATO countries in dismantlement and related areas.

  14. We expressed our satisfaction with progress in the transfer of nuclear weapons from Ukraine to Russia for dismantlement in accordance with the January 14th Trilateral Statement with the United States, and our expectation that Ukraine will soon accede to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as a non- nuclear weapons state in fulfilment of its commitments, thus clearing the way for the implementation of the START I and II treaties. We welcomed the accession to the NPT by Kazakhstan and Georgia. We support efforts to enhance the verification and safeguards regimes of the NPT, to expand its membership, and to achieve, at the 1995 Conference of the Parties to the NPT, its indefinite and unconditional extension.

  15. The refusal of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to fulfil its obligations under the NPT and the safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency, its recurring threat to withdraw from the Treaty altogether, and its history of exporting ballistic missiles and weapons technology to regions of instability pose a grave risk to peace and stability in the Far East and globally. This faces the whole international community with a serious, unprecedented problem. We intend to support every effort that may contribute to its resolution.

  16. The Brussels Summit marked a new stage in the Alliance's continuing adaptation to meet the challenges of the changing security environment. It launched initiatives which have important implications for the Alliance's collective defence arrangements. Defence Ministers will play a key role in implementing these initiatives and our discussions today were an important step in this process. Our aim is to ensure that NATO's force structures and procedures are effective, coherent and able to undertake all of the Alliance's roles and missions, while at the same time meeting the evolving political requirements of our transformed Alliance. On this basis, we will meet our responsibilities for collective defence, and make an essential contribution to cooperation and to Europe's wider stability.

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