11 June 1998

Final Communique

Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council
held at NATO Headquarters, Brussels.

  1. The North Atlantic Council met in Defence Ministers Session in Brussels on 11th June 1998.

  2. In less than a year's time the Alliance will be celebrating its 50th anniversary. We reviewed today the defence aspects of the progress achieved in the implementation of the Brussels and Madrid Summit decisions and affirmed our determination to sustain NATO's continuing process of adaptation and renewal. Based on a firm transatlantic partnership, a new NATO has emerged that is projecting stability throughout the Euro-Atlantic area. The Alliance's forces, structures and procedures will underpin its continued commitment to collective defence, ensure its preparedness for new missions, and support the development of the European Security and Defence Identity (ESDI) within NATO. The Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland are making good progress in their preparations for Alliance membership. We are fully committed to the Alliance's comprehensive approach to enlargement and cooperative partnership with other Euro-Atlantic nations.

  3. We reviewed the operations of the NATO-led Stabilisation Force (SFOR) and commended General Shinseki and the men and women of the force for their continuing, exemplary service to the cause of peace, democracy, and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We reaffirmed our appreciation for the excellent cooperation between NATO and non-NATO contributors. Their joint efforts are creating the secure environment necessary for continued implementation of the civil aspects of the 1995 Peace Agreement. While ensuring compliance with the Agreement's military provisions, SFOR has supported the United Nations' Mine Action Centre and helped to increase de-mining by the Entity armed forces, organize an amnesty for war-like material, reform the media and establish alternative sources of information, and has contributed, within capabilities, to the civil implementation efforts for reconstruction projects throughout Bosnia. It has also supported the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) by detaining and transferring persons indicted for war crimes to The Hague.

  4. While important progress has been made, significant challenges must be overcome before we can be confident that the peace process is self-sustaining. With this in mind, we today agreed the activation order necessary to continue SFOR beyond the end of its current mandate on 20th June, subject to a resolution from the UN Security Council. SFOR will continue to deter renewed hostilities and to contribute to a secure environment for the ongoing implementation of the civil aspects of the Peace Agreement, promoting a transition of emphasis from military to civil implementation. At the same time, SFOR will provide broad support, within means and capabilities, for civil implementation, in particular to key aspects such as public security, the return of refugees and displaced persons, the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the September elections. Through the incorporation of a multinational specialised unit which will operate as an integral part of SFOR under the same rules of engagement as other elements, it will have an enhanced capability to support the local authorities in responding to civil disorder, without engaging in police functions, in close cooperation with the Office of the High Representative, and the UN International Police Task Force.

  5. In deciding to continue SFOR, NATO has also agreed a transition strategy as an integral part of the force's mission. This strategy will permit and promote a gradual and progressive reduction in the size, role and profile of the force as emphasis shifts from military to civil implementation, leading to eventual full withdrawal, with residual responsibilities being transferred to the common institutions, other civil authorities or other international organisations as appropriate. Formal reviews will be conducted after the September elections and no later than December 1998, and thereafter at intervals of not more than six months to assess, against a set of identified criteria for measuring progress, the security situation and the overall implementation of the Peace Agreement. These reviews will permit the Allies, in consultation with other SFOR contributors, to consider the possible scope for force reductions, taking into account the level of support required for military and civil implementation and the requirements for deterrence. As a contribution to this transition, NATO has established an initial set of Security Cooperation Activities with Bosnia and Herzegovina with the aim of promoting confidence and cooperation among the armed forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina and encouraging the development of democratic practices and central defence mechanisms such as the Bosnia and Herzegovina Government's Standing Committee on Military Matters. Lasting security and stability will also be enhanced by continuing implementation of the existing arms control agreements and confidence-building measures and through the early beginning of negotiations aimed at reaching a regional balance in and around the former Yugoslavia. At our meeting we reviewed progress in implementing all these activities and agreed that they be continued. Their full implementation will enable Bosnia and Herzegovina to find its proper place in the Euro-Atlantic community.

  6. At their meeting in Luxembourg, Foreign Ministers looked forward to free and fair elections in Montenegro. Today, we warmly welcomed the results of these elections. Our governments remain firmly committed to supporting the political and economic reforms which the democratically elected leadership of Montenegro is pursuing.

  7. We welcomed the increased involvement of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland in Alliance activities since the signing of the Protocols of Accession in December of last year. Further progress has been made in preparing the three invited countries for their future responsibilities and military roles. In particular, challenging but achievable Target Force Goals have been successfully developed within NATO's defence planning system to assist the three invited countries in planning, at the national level, the further preparation of their armed forces for membership in a realistic and effective way. These Target Force Goals address NATO's priority military requirements for an effective enlarged Alliance. We also confirmed the importance of making use of PfP tools and mechanisms in preparing the invited countries for membership, through both the collective and bilateral efforts of Allies. We took note of a progress report on reinforcing the Individual Partnership Programmes of the invited countries.

  8. We took note of the report on the Alliance's Medium- Term Resource Plan which includes an assessment of the resource implications of the accession of the three invited countries. The report confirms our earlier assessment that Alliance costs associated with the accession of the invited countries will be manageable and that the resources necessary to meet these costs will be provided in accordance with our agreed procedures under which each Ally bears its fair share.

  9. We, as Defence Ministers, reaffirm that the door remains open to NATO membership under Article 10 of the North Atlantic Treaty and in accordance with Paragraph 8 of the Madrid Declaration. We considered a report on the intensified dialogues which have taken place so far and will continue to follow the process.

  10. We received a comprehensive report detailing further progress in the Alliance's internal adaptation since our last meeting. This process continues to be guided by the three objectives of ensuring the Alliance's military effectiveness in the changing security environment for both collective defence and new roles, preserving the transatlantic link, and building the ESDI within the Alliance.

  11. Substantial progress has been made by the NATO Military Authorities in planning for the transition to the new command structure which was agreed last year. The detailed implementation plan will address how the new command structure will be implemented, with a view to achieving full operational capability as soon as possible. We directed the Military Committee to take forward this work, for consideration and endorsement at the Ministerial meetings next December with the aim of completing necessary preparations for a single, irreversible decision by the Council to simultaneously approve the activation requests for all the headquarters of the new military command structure as a whole, to be taken not later than the Washington Summit. The new command structure will be fully functional, militarily efficient and cost effective.

  12. Allies welcomed the decision of Spain to authorise Spanish integration in the new military structure of the Alliance and to initiate all necessary actions to achieve that integration, in agreement with NATO Authorities. In order to facilitate its full integration, Spain will participate from the outset in the transition to the new military structure. Spain has also taken a decision to participate fully in the International Military Budget and the NATO Security Investment Programme and is now participating in the Alliance defence planning process on the same basis as the other Allies who take part in this process.

  13. We welcome the further progress achieved in implementing the CJTF concept, particularly the successful completion of the second CJTF trial in March of this year. We look forward to the next steps in the implementation process, based inter alia on the results of the first two and any subsequent trials, including, in due course, trials and exercises for WEU-led operations using NATO CJTF headquarters, and lessons learned from the experience in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Once completed, CJTF implementation, as a key element of the Alliance's adaptation, will provide the Alliance with much greater operational flexibility. The CJTF arrangements to be embedded in the new command structure will further enhance our 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 military operations. They will also facilitate the possible involvement of nations outside the Alliance in NATO-led operations and, by providing for the conduct of WEU-led CJTF operations, contribute greatly to the practical realisation of ESDI within the Alliance.

  14. We welcomed the progress made in further developing practical arrangements for building ESDI within NATO, based on the principle of separable but not separate capabilities. We noted that further steps have been taken, in close cooperation with the WEU, on:

    • the elaboration of arrangements for the release, monitoring and return or recall of NATO assets and capabilities in the context of a WEU-led operation with NATO support, currently focusing on a framework for an agreement between NATO and the WEU; - the development of clear and compatible joint consultation arrangements in the context of possible WEU-led operations using NATO assets and capabilities; work to date represents a good starting point for conducting trials and for reference as appropriate in the event of an operation;

    • the involvement of the WEU in the Alliance's defence planning process for the first time during the current defence planning cycle, including practical arrangements for the involvement of non-Allied WEU Observer states in force planning activities;

    • preparations for a workshop and seminar leading up to a joint NATO-WEU crisis management exercise in the year 2000;

    • the further incorporation of requirements for WEU-led operations into NATO's military planning and exercises on the basis of the illustrative mission profiles identified by the 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.

  15. We welcomed the commitment by the WEU Council of Ministers in Rhodes on 11 and 12 May to continue their efforts to enhance institutional and practical cooperation with NATO at all levels and especially between the military staffs and, in the same context, the discussions of the WEU Council with SACLANT and DSACEUR.

  16. We discussed key aspects of the examination, and updating as necessary, of the Alliance's Strategic Concept, as mandated by our Heads of State and Government at their Summit meeting in Madrid in July 1997. We reaffirm the great importance we attach to this work, which is proceeding well, and look forward to a further report at our December meeting and to the endorsement of the outcome by our Heads of State and Government at the next Summit meeting.

  17. We noted with appreciation a report on progress achieved in implementing the EAPC Basic Document and the enhanced Partnership for Peace. During the past year the EAPC has been gaining momentum as the overarching framework for an expanded political dimension of partnership as well as for practical cooperation under the Partnership for Peace. It has also served as a forum for political consultation on SFOR and Kosovo.

  18. The decisions to establish PfP Staff Elements at the strategic and regional levels of NATO's military command structure as well as in the International Military Staff are now being implemented and we will receive a report next year on the possibility of establishing such elements at the sub-regional level. As part of the further development of the Planning and Review Process (PARP), revised procedures introducing Ministerial Guidance and Partnership Goals for interested Partner nations have been agreed. International military posts for Partners at the Partnership Coordination Cell have now been filled and the two first Partnership projects to be supported under the NATO Security Investment Programme are well under way towards implementation. Work with Partners on the development of a political-military framework for NATO-led PfP operations is proceeding. A report on enhanced practical cooperation in the field of international disaster relief to which all EAPC nations have contributed has been agreed.

  19. The efforts further to enhance cooperation, including proposals for increasing regional cooperation within PfP, and bilateral and multinational activities, such as the establishment of training centres and the creation of multinational formations which support the participation in international peace support operations, are giving substance to the enhanced and more operational Partnership and its new possibilities for engaging Partners in defence and military cooperation. We fully support the goal of affording Partners increased decision-making opportunities for activities in which they participate and to which they contribute. At tomorrow's meeting of the EAPC we will review progress on the implementation of the enhanced PfP and discuss opportunities for further practical cooperation within the EAPC framework.

  20. At tomorrow's meeting of the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council at the level of Defence Ministers we will review the further progress made toward deepening NATO's new security partnership with the Russian Federation. The implementation of the NATO-Russia Founding Act is proceeding well on the basis of the substantive work programme for 1998 (which includes work on such matters as peacekeeping, disarmament and arms control, efforts against proliferation, defence policy and strategy, and nuclear weapons issues). Important consultations on SFOR and Kosovo have taken place in the PJC. Military-to-military cooperation is central to the achievement of transparency and confidence between NATO and Russia. We accordingly welcomed the second meeting of the Chiefs of Defence under the auspices of the Permanent Joint Council and underlined the importance of establishing, on the basis of reciprocity, military liaison missions at various levels of the military structures of NATO and Russia, and we strongly support efforts to achieve the early opening of a NATO Military Liaison Mission in Moscow, if possible by the end of the year. We confirm our commitment to contribute, as Defence Ministers, to making full use of and, where agreed, broadening and deepening the range of cooperative activities with Russia, with an emphasis on practical military cooperation through Partnership for Peace.

  21. We look forward to the first meeting of the NATO- Ukraine Commission at the level of Defence Ministers tomorrow. The implementation of the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership between NATO and Ukraine is proceeding well. We renewed our support for the further development of the political-military aspects of the Charter on the basis of the 1998 work plan and look forward to making use of arrangements under the NATO-Ukraine Charter for consultations on security issues of common interest. The broadening and strengthening of practical military cooperation through PfP and the future work of the newly-established Joint Working Group on Defence Reform play an essential role in NATO's support of Ukraine's continuing reform process, which builds on the practical military cooperation which NATO and Ukraine have achieved to date, including Ukraine's participation within IFOR and SFOR.

  22. We value NATO's enhanced Mediterranean Dialogue as an important component of the Alliance's overall cooperative approach to security, reinforcing and complementing the work undertaken in other international fora, and we reiterate that security and stability in the Mediterranean are closely linked to security in and for the whole of Europe. We received a progress report on the implementation of the first work programme of the Mediterranean Dialogue. We welcomed the inclusion of a substantial number of military activities in the work programme, which will contribute to further confidence-building and cooperation in the region, and the decision to designate NATO Contact Point Embassies in Mediterranean Dialogue countries.

  23. We support the OSCE's efforts to develop a Document- Charter on European security. NATO is prepared to further develop cooperation with the OSCE and take full advantage of the respective strengths of each institution and the non-hierarchical, mutually reinforcing cooperation between them.

  24. We reiterate the condemnation of terrorism in all its forms as expressed by Foreign Ministers in Luxembourg and reaffirm the determination of our Governments to combat this scourge. We believe that close international cooperation is an essential means of eradicating it.

  25. Despite the improved overall security environment, the proliferation of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons and their delivery means continues to be a matter of concern for the Alliance. The principal aim of the Alliance and its members is to prevent proliferation from occurring, or, should it occur, to reverse it through diplomatic means. However, we also recognize that proliferation can continue to occur despite our preventive efforts and can pose a direct military threat to Allies' populations, territory, and forces. In particular, the use or threat of use of chemical or biological weapons could be a characteristic of future operations in which Allied forces become involved. Therefore we remain committed to continue improving the Alliance defence posture against NBC weapons and to ensure that NATO's defence response is fully reflected in our strategy and plans, in order to underpin NATO's ability to perform the full range of its missions despite the presence, threat or use of NBC weapons.

  26. We received a report taking stock of the wide range of achievements across the full spectrum of NATO's political and military response to NBC weapons risks since the 1994 Brussels Summit to enhance the Alliance defence posture and endorsed the report's recommendations to address areas where further work is required. In particular, we agreed to intensify our efforts to understand better proliferant intentions and doctrine; to enhance biological detection, protection and decontamination and to improve other capabilities that support deployable forces; and to explore opportunities for dealing with the implications of terrorist and coercive CBW attacks. We underscored the importance of consultations with Partners on proliferation-related defence issues. We also underscored the high priority we attach to adapting NATO's operational doctrine, plans, training and exercises to reflect more fully the risks posed especially by CBW.

  27. In the light of India's and Pakistan's recent nuclear tests, which the Alliance has condemned, we urge all countries, which have not yet done so, to accede to and fully implement the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. We support the early conclusion of a verifiable and universal Fissile Material Cut Off Treaty. We are determined to achieve progress by the end of this year in the negotiation of appropriate measures, including possible verification measures, and draft proposals to strengthen the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and re-emphasize the importance of universal adherence to and full implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

  28. We re-affirm the Alliance's commitment to the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe as a cornerstone of European security. The Alliance is committed to ensuring that the ongoing adaptation of this Treaty preserves its integrity and enhances its effectiveness in building confidence and security throughout Europe. During this adaptation process the full implementation of and compliance with the provisions of the current Treaty must be ensured. We will continue to encourage all States Parties to intensify their efforts with the objective of an early completion of the adaptation process, on the basis of the goals and objectives in the "Scope and Parameters" Document and the "Basic Elements" Decision. To this end, several Allied proposals have already been tabled in Vienna, including and most recently on the substance of the flank rgime and its reconciliation with the structure of the adapted Treaty.

    We also call on Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus to ratify the Open Skies Treaty.

  29. We stress the need for the entry into force of the START II Treaty, which will reduce Russian and United States strategic nuclear forces and is a prerequisite for further reductions through the envisaged START III Treaty. Therefore we encourage the Russian Federation to ratify START II at the earliest possible date. Furthermore, we urge Russia to honour its commitments as stated by President Yeltsin in 1992 to substantially reduce its tactical nuclear weapons.

  30. We look forward to receiving a report on the ongoing work by the NATO Military Authorities to assess the impact on NATO of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction.

  31. We noted a comprehensive annual report of NATO's Conference of National Armaments Directors (CNAD). In particular, we noted that the Directors are investigating short, medium and long-term solutions to the requirement for an Alliance Ground Surveillance capability, and we look forward to receiving their findings next year. We underlined the importance of the work underway in NATO's new Research and Technology Organization to develop a long term strategy for guiding the Alliance's defence research and technology activities. We welcomed CNAD approval of a programme plan for a NATO layered theatre ballistic missile defence capability starting with the preparation, between 1998 and 2000, for a feasibility phase. We also noted with satisfaction CNAD initiatives in the areas of PfP, including one to launch small scale Partnership Armaments Cooperation Projects, as well as the exploratory dialogue with the Russian Federation and Ukraine on armaments-related matters. Finally, we noted progress made by the Directors in their study of the conduct of NATO armaments activities in the future, and look forward to receiving the results of this work at our next meeting.

  32. Military common-funded programmes continue to make a significant contribution to the Alliance's military effectiveness and are practical demonstrations of cooperation and cohesion among the Allies. They are also playing an important role in preparing the three invited states for membership. 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.

  33. As the Alliance approaches its 50th anniversary, we will continue to work for the strengthening of security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area, based on the solidarity and cohesion of the new NATO, as reflected in our commitment to the core function of collective defence and the indispensable transatlantic link, the development of cooperative security partnerships with other Euro-Atlantic nations, the creation of ESDI within NATO, and the Alliance's effectiveness for the full range of its missions.

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