28 May 1998
Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council
in Luxembourg on 28 May 1998
- At their Summit meeting in Madrid in July 1997, our Heads of State and Government took important decisions to shape the new NATO to meet the challenges of the 21st century. In December we advanced the implementation of those decisions. Today, at our meeting in Luxembourg, we noted with satisfaction further progress achieved and gave guidance for further work in preparation for the next Summit meeting in Washington in April 1999.
- We have today issued statements on Bosnia and Herzegovina and on Kosovo. We are also watching carefully to see that nothing interferes with the free and fair conduct of the forthcoming elections in Montenegro.
- We look forward to welcoming the three invited countries - the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland - as members of the Alliance in time for the Washington Summit in April 1999. We are pleased with the progress of the ratification process. We received an oral report on the steps taken to associate more closely the three invited countries with the structures and procedures of the Alliance, to prepare them to undertake the responsibilities and obligations of membership.
We reaffirm that the door remains open to NATO membership under Article 10 of the North Atlantic Treaty and in accordance with the terms set out in Paragraph 8 of the Madrid Summit Declaration. We will continue our intensified dialogues on an active basis with those nations that aspire to NATO membership or otherwise wish to pursue a dialogue on membership questions. We received a report on the conduct of these dialogues since our last meeting. As directed by Heads of State and Government at the Madrid Summit, we will keep the process under continual review. We direct the Council in Permanent Session to report to us at our next meeting on progress in the intensified dialogues.
- Tomorrow's meeting of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council will be the opportunity to celebrate the EAPC's first anniversary. Today we received a comprehensive progress report on implementation of the EAPC Basic Document and the enhanced Partnership for Peace.
We note with satisfaction the considerable progress achieved by the EAPC since its launch in Sintra last year towards fulfilling its purpose as the framework for both an expanded political dimension of partnership and enhanced practical cooperation through the substantial strengthening of the PfP. We place importance on our consultations with Partners in the EAPC on regional matters, in particular on Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Kosovo.
We are pleased with our enhanced practical cooperation in the field of international disaster relief, in particular the establishment of a Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre following a proposal by the Russian Federation.
- Enhanced Partnership for Peace continues to build new patterns of practical cooperation with Partners across a wide range of security issues. We are pleased with the progress achieved in its implementation, particularly the increasing involvement of Partners in shaping PfP programmes and policies. We look forward to involving Partners in developing proposals for promoting regional cooperation between the Allies and PfP Partners and in the development of a political-military framework for NATO-led PfP operations.
We task the Council in Permanent Session, in cooperation with Partners, to further pursue the implementation of the decisions taken at our meeting in Sintra in May 1997, and to report to us at our next meeting.
- We welcome the developing process of consultation and practical cooperation with Russia on the basis of the work programme agreed at the Permanent Joint Council Ministerial meeting in December 1997. Since that time, we have consulted regularly on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and have exchanged views on a wide range of security and defence-related issues.
We are pleased with the establishment, in accordance with the Brussels Agreement, of a Russian Federation mission to NATO as foreseen in the NATO-Russia Founding Act. Our military cooperation has been reinforced with the presence of a Senior Military Representative of the Russian Federation. Our aim is to work with Russia to achieve the early opening of a NATO Military Liaison Mission in Moscow, if possible by the end of the year. We also welcome the progress Russia has made in the elaboration of its Individual Partnership Programme, building on the successful military cooperation that has been achieved between NATO and Russia in the SFOR operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
We welcome the official opening in February of the NATO Documentation Centre in Moscow and intend to enhance further the Centre's information activities. We look forward to signing with Russia later today a Memorandum of Understanding on Scientific and Technical Cooperation.
We are committed to working together with Russia to make full use of the potential of the NATO-Russia Founding Act and encourage Russia to play an active role in the EAPC and the enhanced PfP.
- We are pleased with the progress achieved in the implementation, under the aegis of the NATO-Ukraine Charter, of the NATO-Ukraine work plan for 1998 and of Ukraine's Individual Partnership Programme within the enhanced Partnership for Peace. In pursuit of our distinctive partnership with Ukraine, we will assign a NATO liaison officer to Kyiv later this year to help Ukraine to continue to enhance its role in the Partnership for Peace. We welcome the establishment of the Joint Working Group on Defence Reform, which will play a significant role in achieving Ukraine's interoperability goals. We take note of the efforts to develop a prioritised approach to NATO-Ukraine cooperative activities, and look forward to implementing the activities foreseen in the work plan. We will continue to support an active information effort in Ukraine through the NATO Information and Documentation Centre in Kyiv.
- We reiterate our firm belief that security in Europe is closely linked with security and stability in the Mediterranean. We give great attention to our Mediterranean Dialogue, which is part of the Alliance's overall cooperative approach to security and reinforces and complements other international efforts. We welcome and encourage interest from Mediterranean Dialogue countries in political consultations and practical cooperation with our Alliance, and note that meetings in a 16+1 format have given the Dialogue a greater political profile. We have decided to designate NATO Contact Point Embassies in Mediterranean Dialogue countries to strengthen our relations with them. We welcome the progressive development of the different dimensions of the Dialogue and encourage partners in the Dialogue to take full advantage of all its possibilities, including the military dimension.
- We attach great importance to an early and successful completion of the process of the Alliance's internal adaptation. The fundamental objectives of this adaptation are to maintain the Alliance's military effectiveness for the full range of its missions building on its essential collective defence capabilities and its ability to react to a wide range of contingencies, to preserve the transatlantic link, and to develop the European Security and Defence Identity within the Alliance. We received a comprehensive report describing the progress made since our last meeting. Progress has been achieved in the implementation of the CJTF concept and preparations for the implementation of the new command structure. Our aim is to complete these preparations by the Washington Summit in April 1999. Good progress has been made towards the integration of Spain into the Alliance's military structure.
Work on building the ESDI within the Alliance, based on the principle of separable but not separate capabilities, is progressing well. Regular meetings of the NATO and WEU Councils in Joint Session and of subordinate bodies, and close consultation on planning and conducting WEU-led operations and exercises involving the use of NATO assets and capabilities are important elements of the development of ESDI within the Alliance. Based on a programme jointly agreed between NATO and the WEU, preparations are underway for a workshop and seminar, leading up to a joint crisis management exercise in 2000.
We welcome progress on the elaboration of arrangements for ESDI within NATO, including for the transfer, monitoring, return or recall of NATO assets and capabilities, currently focusing on a framework for an agreement between NATO and WEU. We direct the Council in Permanent Session to ensure that the key elements of the work on implementing the Berlin and Brussels decisions relating to ESDI are in place, as set out in the report on internal adaptation submitted to us, by the Washington Summit in April 1999.
- We welcome the steady strengthening of cooperative relations between NATO and the WEU. We also welcome the decisions of the WEU Council of Ministers in Rhodes to reinforce relations with the Alliance, including through the further development of regular contacts between the two organisations at all levels.
- At their Madrid Summit, Alliance Heads of State and Government mandated an examination, and update as necessary, of the Strategic Concept of 1991. This work is well underway. We discussed the themes which should be reflected in the updated Strategic Concept and look forward to a report on progress at our next meeting in December, looking ahead to endorsement of the updated Concept at the next Summit meeting in April 1999.
- We continue to support the efforts of the OSCE, the most inclusive European-wide security organisation, to develop a Document-Charter on European security. We are prepared to further develop cooperation with the OSCE, which plays an essential role in securing peace, stability and security in Europe.
- We remain committed to a successful adaptation of the CFE Treaty, satisfactory to all States Parties, on the basis of the goals and objectives in the "Scope and Parameters" Document and the "Basic Elements" Decision. We wish to strengthen the Treaty's key role in security and stability in Europe. The members of the Alliance have made several proposals in the course of the ongoing negotiations in the Joint Consultative Group in Vienna, most recently on the flank rgime, and will continue to present new ideas to move the negotiations forward. We will work as expeditiously as possible towards the conclusion of the adaptation negotiation as foreseen in the timetable agreed at Lisbon on 1st December 1996; and we call on all CFE States Parties to engage actively in achieving this goal. Until the adaptation process is completed, the continued full implementation of the existing Treaty will remain vital.
- We reiterate our strong concern about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means. In this context, we re-emphasise that the principal goal of the Alliance is to prevent proliferation from occurring, or should it occur, to reverse it by diplomatic means, and we welcome the Alliance's efforts to ensure its preparedness to address such threats. We underline the risk to international and regional stability posed by the spread of these weapons.
In the light of India's recent nuclear tests, which the Alliance condemned in its statement of 20th May 1998, we urge all countries to accede to and fully implement the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. We support the early conclusion of a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty.
We are determined to achieve progress by the end of this year on an effective verification rgime to strengthen the implementation of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and re-emphasise the importance of universal adherence to the Chemical Weapons Convention.
- We call on Russia to ratify the START II Treaty and on Russia, Ukraine and Belarus to ratify the Open Skies Treaty.
- We note that work is underway to assess the impact on NATO of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Production, Stockpiling and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, and look forward to an early report on that work.
- We reiterate our condemnation of terrorism in all its forms. Reaffirming our determination to combat this scourge, we believe that close international cooperation is an essential means of eradicating it.
- We note with satisfaction the steps taken to give greater transparency to the budgetary process and to enable the Council to take a broader, more strategic overview of NATO common-funded expenditure.
- We express our deep appreciation to the Government of Luxembourg for hosting this meeting.