12 June 1997

Final Communiqu

Meeting of the North Atlantic Council
in Defence Ministers Session

  1. The North Atlantic Council met in Defence Ministers Session in Brussels on 12th June 1997.

  2. In four weeks' time our Heads of State and Government will meet in Madrid in order to take major decisions necessary to shape the new NATO to meet the challenges of the next century. In the defence field, the Summit decisions will ensure the Alliance's capability to respond to the risks and opportunities lying ahead. We will maintain Allied solidarity and cohesion as reflected in the core functions, including our commitment to collective defence; preserve and reinforce the indispensable link between the European and the North American Allies; and at the same time build the European Security and Defence Identity (ESDI) within the Alliance, which will allow the European Allies to assume a greater responsibility for our shared purposes. We fully support the decisions the Alliance is taking to enhance further its relations with Partners, and as Defence Ministers will play our full part in implementing these decisions as well as in preparing nations invited to join the Alliance for their future roles and obligations as members.

  3. We welcomed the progress on NATO's internal adaptation. Over recent months, this work has focussed on three main areas: the development of a new command structure for the Alliance; the implementation of the Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) concept; and the development of ESDI within NATO.

  4. We reviewed the progress made in the development of the future command structure which will enable NATO to undertake the whole range of its missions more effectively and flexibly. We stressed the importance of finding solutions to the outstanding issues and the desirability of further developments with a view to agreeing on appropriate recommendations for decisions that could be submitted to the Madrid Summit in the interest of a timely and successful completion of a new command structure. As part of the development of ESDI, requirements for European command arrangements based on separable but not separate capabilities should continue to be taken into account in the elaboration of the future structure.

  5. The implementation of the CJTF concept will provide for greater operational flexibility. This concept will enhance the Alliance's ability to command and control multinational and multiservice forces, generated and deployed at short notice, which are capable of dealing with a wide range of non-Article 5 operations, and facilitate the possible involvement of nations outside the Alliance. The use of CJTFs in Article 5 operations is not excluded. They will also constitute an important vehicle for developing ESDI within the Alliance.

  6. We therefore welcomed the steady further progress made in the implementation of the CJTF concept on the basis of the agreed Politico-Military Framework and Implementation Directive. We look forward to the results of the first CJTF trial to be held later this year. As part of an evolutionary process, this and subsequent trials will, together with the further development of the concept, provide the necessary basis for carrying forward the process of CJTF implementation. On this basis and as soon as practicable in a future exercise a CJTF operation should be led by WEU calling on Alliance assets and capabilities and employing the European command arrangements.

  7. Ministers took important decisions in Berlin and Brussels last year to develop ESDI within the Alliance. We noted with satisfaction the progress made in their implementation, consistent, inter alia, with the principle of separable but not separate capabilities:

    • the decisions of the Council in Permanent Session on European command arrangements within NATO enabling the preparation, support, command and conduct of WEU-led operations;

    • the decisions of the Council in Permanent Session regarding the arrangements for identifying NATO capabilities and assets for WEU-led operations;

    • provisional approval of the ESDI-related elements of the terms of reference of DSACEUR, under which, taking account of his strategic coordination function, he would have permanent responsibilities during peacetime as well as during crises and operations;

    • progress in developing arrangements for the release, monitoring and return or recall of Alliance assets and capabilities;

    • the decisions of the Council in Permanent Session to improve arrangements for consultation and the exchange of information with the WEU within the framework of the NATO-WEU Security Agreement, and to pursue in this context further work on the possible need to supplement information-sharing arrangements for the conduct of WEU-led operations, including on intelligence sharing;

    • progress on work regarding planning, and conducting exercises, for WEU-led operations, on the basis of illustrative profiles for WEU missions.

  8. We also approved the results of the review of the Alliance's defence planning process which we had requested at our meeting in June 1996. A single, coherent and streamlined process is now in place which will ensure that NATO continues to develop the forces and capabilities needed to conduct the full range of Alliance missions, including support for WEU-led operations, and in this context is able to support within the Alliance all European Allies in planning for the conduct of WEU-led operations. We welcomed the fact that the WEU had responded to the Alliance's invitation to contribute to Ministerial Guidance.

  9. The creation of the ESDI within the Alliance has much benefited from the recent agreement in the WEU on the participation of all European Allies, if they were so to choose, in WEU-led operations using NATO assets and capabilities, as well as in planning and preparing for such operations. We fully subscribe to the statement made in this regard by Alliance Foreign Ministers in Sintra. We also noted the decision of WEU Ministers in Paris to establish a military committee.

  10. We directed the Council in Permanent Session to pursue further work vigorously with a view to submitting to our Heads of State and Government in Madrid recommendations for decisions necessary for the successful completion of the internal adaptation of the Alliance.

  11. We fully support the Alliance decision to examine the Strategic Concept to ensure that it is fully consistent with Europe's new security situation and challenges, and the recommendation by Foreign Ministers to Heads of State and Government to decide the way ahead at Madrid.

  12. We also fully support the decision of Foreign Ministers in Sintra to launch the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council to raise to a qualitatively new level our political and military cooperation with our Partners, with a substantially enhanced PfP programme as a clearly identifiable element within this flexible framework. We look forward to the first meeting of the EAPC at the level of Defence Ministers tomorrow.

  13. In this context, we will take forward the strengthening of political and military cooperation, including the involvement of Partners in the planning and execution of PfP activities, exercises and operations through, inter alia:

    • increased involvement of Partners in the political guidance and oversight for future NATO-led PfP operations to which they contribute;

    • development of a political-military framework for NATO-led PfP operations to enable Partners to participate in the planning and execution of PfP activities as closely as is practically feasible;

    • enhancement of Partner participation in the decision-making for PfP programme issues;

    • the establishment of PfP Staff Elements at various NATO headquarters on the basis of an implementation concept to be developed by the NMAs by the end of October 1997, which will include modalities, resource and security implications and a time-frame;

    • opening permanent military staff positions in the Partnership Coordination Cell to Partners;

    • the expansion of the Planning and Review Process making it more like the NATO Force Planning System by introducing, inter alia, a biennial Ministerial Guidance and Partnership Goals which could go beyond interoperability for Partners that so desire;

    • and increase scope for regional cooperation activities in the context of the Partnership including both consultations on regional security matters and practical cooperation.

    We have tasked the Council in Permanent Session to proceed with the implementation of the agreed PfP enhancements without delay and to provide a further report for our next meeting in December.

  14. The Summit is also expected to carry forward the process of enlargement by issuing invitations to start accession negotiations. We welcomed the fact that the preparations for those decisions are on track, including an analysis of relevant factors associated with the admission of new members. The admission of new members, which will enhance our common security, will involve the Alliance providing the resources which enlargement will necessarily require. We join Alliance Foreign Ministers in recommending to our Heads of State and Government to make explicit and give substance to our commitment that the Alliance remains open to the accession of any other European state able and willing to further the principles of the Washington Treaty and to contribute to our common security.

  15. We will play our full part as Defence Ministers in preparing nations invited to join for their future roles and obligations as Alliance members. PfP will to the greatest extent possible play a very important part in this process. In addition, we have agreed to develop, in consultation with prospective new members after Madrid, drawing on appropriate tools of the NATO force planning process, planning targets for the contribution which they would envisage making, with the aim of having such targets available for consideration by the Spring of 1998.

  16. With respect to the plans of present members, we recalled the Alliance's statement of March 14, 1997, that in the current and foreseeable security environment, the Alliance will carry out its collective defence and other missions by ensuring the necessary interoperability, integration and capability for reinforcement rather than by additional permanent stationing of substantial combat forces. It will be important to ensure that the military capabilities of the members of the Alliance meet the requirements deriving from this unilateral statement, which is fully consistent with the call in the Alliance's Strategic Concept for enhanced flexibility and mobility.

  17. We directed NATO defence planners to undertake as part of the follow-up to the Summit a thorough assessment of how NATO's force plans and defence requirements are affected by enlargement on the assumption that the invitees become members and participate fully in the Alliance's collective defence. Taking account of this work, a specific, concrete analysis of the resource implications of enlargement should be undertaken. The results of this work will be reported to us at our next meeting in December 1997.

  18. We reaffirmed our commitment to a strong, stable and enduring partnership with the Russian Federation, as a vital contribution to European security. We therefore welcomed the signature of the Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security between NATO and the Russian Federation, in Paris, on 27th May. It is our strong wish to contribute, on the basis of reciprocity, to the implementation of the military aspects of consultations and cooperation that will take place between NATO and Russia, as well as to the implementation of the political-military elements of the Founding Act.

  19. We will play our full part in developing the Alliance's relations with Ukraine, recognising that its independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty are a crucial factor for stability and security in Europe. We warmly welcomed the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership between NATO and Ukraine which was initialled at the Foreign Ministers' meeting in Sintra and which will be signed in Madrid.

  20. We also expressed our support for enhancing the dialogue between NATO and a number of countries in the Mediterranean region. We welcomed the measures agreed by Foreign Ministers at their meeting in Sintra in the interest of confidence-building and cooperation that contributes to stability. We also joined them in recommending the establishment of a new Council Committee for the Mediterranean Dialogue.

  21. We reaffirmed our commitment to address proliferation risks as an integral part of the Alliance's ongoing adaptation to the new security environment. In this context we noted the Senior Political-Military Group on Proliferation's Recommendations for Possible Political and/or Diplomatic Initiatives Aimed at Preventing or Reversing Proliferation. While prevention remains our primary aim, we recognise that proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) weapons and their means of delivery, which at present poses risks to the Alliance, can continue to occur despite our preventive efforts and can pose a direct military threat to the Alliance. We therefore welcomed the increased attention which Alliance defence planning is now paying to the capabilities and concepts needed to deter and, if necessary, respond to, the use of NBC weapons, with particular emphasis on enhancing protection for deployed forces at or beyond NATO's periphery and improving protection against biological weapons. We endorsed the Senior Defence Group on Proliferation's Policy Guidelines for Military Operations in an NBC environment, the implementation of which would constitute an effective contribution to enhancing NATO's political and operational flexibility, reducing vulnerabilities, and enabling NATO forces to accomplish their required missions despite the presence, threat, or use of NBC weapons.

  22. We welcomed the entry into force of the CFE Flank Agreement on 15th May 1997. This step also represents a commitment of all States Parties to retain the regional stability ensured by the provisions of the Flank Agreement for the long term in an adapted treaty. We noted the progress that has been made towards a Framework Agreement on CFE adaptation and look forward to completion of that task as soon as possible on the basis of the proposal made in Vienna in February 1997 for a revised treaty structure of national and territorial ceilings, together with other measures to strengthen overall and regional stability and security throughout Europe. We join Alliance Foreign Ministers in underlining the commitment of all members of the Alliance to the process of adapting the CFE Treaty to a changing security environment. This should enhance the security of all States Parties and ensure that the Treaty continues to serve as a cornerstone of European security for the decades to come.

  23. We welcomed the agreement reached between Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin at Helsinki to reduce strategic nuclear warheads to a level of 2000-2500 in a START III Treaty. We urge the Russian Federation to ratify the START II Treaty without further delay so that negotiations on START III may begin.

  24. We welcomed the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention on 29th April 1997. As of that date a comprehensive, global and verifiable ban on chemical weapons is in effect that will benefit Allied and international security. We call on all states which have not yet signed and ratified the convention to do so at the earliest possible date.

  25. SACEUR briefed us on the first six months of operations by the NATO-led Stabilization Force (SFOR) in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We commended SFOR and the men and women serving in it, including from the 20 non-NATO contributing countries, for ensuring the rapid establishment of the force and its effectiveness, building on the success of last year's Implementation Force (IFOR), in continuing to enforce military compliance firmly and fairly. We expressed deep sympathy to the families of those in SFOR who have lost their lives and to those who have been injured in the cause of peace. We noted that the SFOR operation is planned to be conducted in phases over a period of 18 months, and that its force levels will be reviewed at 6 months and 12 months with a view to shifting the focus from stabilisation to deterrence and completing the ongoing SFOR mission by June 1998. The North Atlantic Council in Permanent Session will shortly conduct the first six month review of SFOR operations, in consultation with the non-NATO contributors. SFOR has continued to confiscate and destroy unauthorised weapons and has directed the armies of the two Entities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to reduce the number of their weapon storage sites and to step up their de-mining efforts. SFOR is also working with the Bosnian Government to open more airports to civil traffic and to remove impediments to freedom of movement. We welcome the decision to establish, as envisaged in the Peace Agreement, a Standing Committee on Military Matters and express the expectation that it will soon be fully functioning to promote transparency, build confidence and encourage coordination between the two Entity Armies. We also welcomed that the NATO School at Oberammergau will shortly conduct a two week course on international security for Bosnian military and civilian defence personnel from both entities and all three Parties.

  26. SFOR is contributing to the secure environment for the overall implementation of the Peace Agreement and is also providing significant selective support to the High Representative, the UN International Police Task Force, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the OSCE and other international organizations involved. In this regard, SFOR is providing substantial support to the OSCE in the preparation and conduct of the September municipal elections. We noted that the Parties to the Peace Agreement remain in general compliance with its military provisions. However, we expressed our serious concerns about the deficiencies remaining in the implementation of the Peace Agreement. We associate ourselves fully with the declaration following the ministerial meeting of the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council in Sintra on 30th May calling on all the parties to implement it fully and without delay. We strongly urge the Parties to honour their obligations in order to achieve further progress in such areas as the establishment of an effective and respected system of law and order, the early and free return of refugees and displaced persons, the preparation of the municipal elections in September, and the full implementation of the arms control provisions. We urge the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague in the apprehension and bringing to justice of war criminals.

  27. We noted that General George Joulwan will shortly be retiring from the post of Supreme Allied Commander Europe and expressed our deep appreciation to him for his outstanding leadership, particularly of IFOR and now of SFOR. By his professionalism and his personal commitment to the cause of peace he has set an example to all who have contributed to the multinational effort in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We wish him well at the end of a long and distinguished career in the service of his country and of the Alliance.

  28. We also appreciate the continuing contribution of the nations participating in the United Nations Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia (UNTAES) and in other efforts to promote peace and stability in former Yugoslavia.

  29. We welcomed the very positive role of the Italian-led Multinational Protection Force, with the participation of several Allies and Partners, in stabilising the domestic situation in Albania thereby helping to create the secure environment necessary for the re-establishment of peace and stability. We value the initiatives taken by the OSCE as the coordinating framework for international assistance in that country, together with the important contributions made by the EU and the WEU.

  30. Effective NATO armaments cooperation makes an important contribution to the fulfilment of the Alliance's expanded range of tasks and missions, the strengthening of the Alliance's military capabilities, and the preservation of a robust transatlantic link. We therefore noted with interest two reports submitted by the Conference of National Armaments Directors, the first consisting of an annual review of activities, and the second focussing specifically on programme options for the Alliance to pursue a layered defence against theatre ballistic missiles. In the context of NATO's ongoing transformation, we strongly support the broad-based NATO Armaments Review now being undertaken by National Armaments Directors, which will fundamentally reexamine the Alliance's role in the armaments field. We particularly look forward to further work to develop an approach to achieving an Extended Integrated Air Defence Capability, and to a decision being taken by the Directors later in the year on the way ahead for an Alliance Ground Surveillance Capability.

  31. We are determined that our forces continue to be adequately manned, equipped, and trained, and to provide the resources that this requires. Military common-funded programmes, which will remain subject to the Alliance's prioritisation and resource-allocation process, continue to be an important aspect of cooperation amongst Alliance members. These programmes will play an important role in the integration process of potential new members and support NATO's adaptation. Bearing in mind the range of new initiatives undertaken by NATO we are determined to provide sufficient resources to maintain the ability to perform the full range of Alliance missions.

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