Updated: 31-Oct-2000 Ministerial Communiqus


Issued at the
Meeting of the
25th May 1994


  1. We, the Defence Ministers and Representatives of Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Kyrgyz Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the United States met today in Brussels to take stock of and give further impetus to our contribution to the process of dialogue, cooperation and partnership in defence-related matters. We also had a wide-ranging discussion on broader issues and challenges that affect our security. We welcomed our colleagues from Finland, Slovenia and Sweden to their first meeting.

  2. Since the last meeting of this kind in March 1993, we have intensified our regular and structured dialogue both bilaterally and multilaterally. Increased practical cooperation is contributing significantly to further improved transparency and mutual understanding. Within the framework of our cooperation, a wide range of activities and projects have been undertaken, including symposia, seminars, staff talks, visits by experts, military courses and other contacts. High level military visits and meetings of the Military Committee in Cooperation session both at Military Representative and Chief of Defence Staff level have been of particular importance in furthering the development of our cooperation.

  3. We believe that our cooperation within the framework of NACC has made a valuable contribution to the improvement of security and stability in Europe. Our future endeavours will build upon the firm basis of understanding and experience that we have developed through this intensified dialogue and practical cooperation in the course of the past two years. We will continue to devote special attention to issues such as force structuring, training and education, defence management, defence planning issues, civil-military relations, and the legal framework for armed forces.

  1. As confirmed at the NACC Ministerial Meeting in Athens last June, it is an important principle that peacekeeping is carried out only under the authority of the UN or the CSCE. As the demand to support efforts in this field continues to increase, our ability to cooperate assumes increased importance. Many NATO countries and Partner countries are already working together in support of UN operations; in some cases this has been happening for many years.

    In view of the need for the necessary preparation of our forces for these tasks, the progress achieved in the NACC framework in practical and technical cooperation in peacekeeping has proved to be of great value. In addition to cooperation in the NACC Ad Hoc Group on Cooperation in Peacekeeping a number of important bilateral and multilateral activities are in train such as the efforts now being made by a number of states to help Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to establish a Baltic peacekeeping battalion. We welcomed the submission of a report by the United Nations Secretary General of 14th March to the General Assembly and the Security Council on "Improving the Capacity of the UN for Peacekeeping".

  2. The Partnership for Peace initiative, approved only four months ago, has enabled NATO Allies and Partners to make substantial progress in furthering the goals of cooperation. Eighteen countries have taken up the Summit invitation and have joined the Allies in the Partnership. Significant progress has been made in developing the Partnership Work Programme and Individual Partnership Programmes. Construction of office space for Partners at NATO Headquarters has been completed. The facilities for the Partnership Co-ordination Cell at Mons were opened on 28th April.

  3. In addition a robust exercise schedule for 1994 has been established, which will mark the beginning of a series of joint military training activities to promote closer military cooperation and interoperability. The training and exercise programme is one of the most important and visible elements of the practical, concrete cooperation we seek as set out in the objectives of the Partnership for Peace. In this regard we are grateful to the Netherlands for being the first to offer to host a multinational peacekeeping field exercise which will take place in October, and in which a large number of countries will participate with units or observers.

    The possibility of a SACLANT exercise is also being considered. Additionally we welcome the offer by Poland to host an exercise in the Autumn of 1994. We also believe that initiatives such as proposals for a trilateral UK-German- Hungarian peacekeeping exercise and the planned trilateral Danish-German-Polish minesweeping and land exercises will usefully contribute to our joint effort to foster practical cooperation in the field of peacekeeping within the NACC/PfP framework.

  4. Those of us who have signed the Framework Document for the Partnership for Peace look at 1994 as a crucial year in the process of taking our practical cooperation forward. The Partnership for Peace launched by the January NATO Summit goes well beyond dialogue and cooperation to forge a real partnership. It is aimed at expanding and intensifying political and military cooperation throughout Europe, thus increasing stability and diminishing risks to peace.

    The Partnership will contribute, among other things, to the development of cooperative military relations through joint planning, training and exercises in order to strengthen the ability to undertake missions in such fields as peacekeeping, search and rescue and humanitarian operations and others as may be agreed; and to create forces that are better able to operate together. In this regard particular importance is placed on the development and implementation of a defence planning and review process. We are fully committed to the Partnership and its successful implementation aimed at meeting the expectations of all participants.

    Today, we discussed further contributions which we, as Defence Ministers, can make to this process. We shall continue to offer every possible support to efforts aimed at achieving a successful cooperation process and a mutually beneficial partnership tailored to the needs of the individual countries.

  5. We remain deeply concerned by the armed conflicts in a number of countries which seriously threaten security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic region. In this connection, we paid particular attention to the situation in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We restated our support for the UN's peacekeeping and humanitarian mission and recalled that many of our countries have contributed forces to UNPROFOR. We also noted NATO's decision in response to requests from the UN Secretary General, to provide its air power in support of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions. We reaffirmed that a solution to the conflict can only be found by negotiation. Accordingly we welcomed the way ahead shown by the meeting of Foreign Ministers in Geneva on 13th May, 1994 aimed at achieving a comprehensive cessation of hostilities and an early and durable settlement.

  6. We look forward to full implementation of the START I Treaty and the Trilateral Statement signed by Presidents Clinton, Kravchuk and Yeltsin in Moscow on 14th January on the transfer of all nuclear weapons in Ukraine to Russia for dismantlement and Russian compensation to Ukraine for the value of highly enriched uranium in those weapons. We welcome the readiness of the three co- depositary states of the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) to provide the assurances to Ukraine specified in the Trilateral Statement once the START I Treaty enters into force and Ukraine becomes a non-nuclear weapon state party to the NPT.

    In this respect, we welcome Ukraine's initiation, in March, of the transfer to Russia of nuclear warheads from strategic systems as a significant step to fulfilment of Ukraine's commitments. We look forward to Ukraine's accession in the shortest possible time to the NPT as a non-nuclear weapon state. We confirm our intention to abide by existing non-proliferation norms and other regimes established with a view to preventing the risk of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and of their delivery means. We are equally committed to increased transparency on conventional arms transfers.

    We urge all States to provide all relevant data and information required for the UN Register of Conventional Arms. We reaffirmed our continuing support for the CFE Treaty as a cornerstone of European security and stability. We noted with satisfaction that several joint inspections have successfully been held and that recently the VERITY database, located at NATO Headquarters, has been opened to all CFE signatories.

  7. Cooperation in defence related matters, including peacekeeping, constitutes one of the key contributions to the building of a genuine partnership, which will help us to achieve our common objective of strengthening international security and stability. In our capacity as Defence Ministers, we shall play our full part in this process. We shall meet to review the progress and give further impetus to cooperation and partnership in the defence field annually or more frequently should the need arise.

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