Updated: 06-May-2002 NATO Press Releases

24 May 2000

Final Communiqué

Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council
held in Florence on 24 May 2000

  1. Today in Florence, we reaffirm our commitment to promoting peace, stability and freedom through a strong North Atlantic Alliance founded on the principles of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law. We gave guidance for further implementation of the Washington Summit decisions and took stock of the achievements of NATO's ongoing efforts to bring lasting peace and stability to South-East Europe.
  2. NATO is firmly committed to the promotion of security, stability, peace and democracy in South-East Europe. Our determination to achieve these goals is demonstrated through the NATO-led peace support operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, as well as NATO's South-East Europe Initiative. We are grateful to NATO's Partners and other nations for the substantial contributions they are making to this effort. In particular, we reiterate our appreciation for the ongoing efforts of Kosovo's immediate neighbours, Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia , in supporting KFOR. We reaffirm our support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all countries in the region. Through the Council in Permanent Session and the NATO Military Authorities, we continue to monitor closely the situation across the region. We pay tribute to the service men and women of all nations serving in the Balkans for their professionalism and dedication to the cause of peace and stability. We express deep sympathy to the families of those who have lost their lives and to those who have been injured in the course of their mission.
  3. We welcome the democratic changes in Croatia after the recent landmark parliamentary and presidential elections. We encourage Croatia to pursue its extensive reform programme that can serve as an example to those countries in the region that are not yet part of the Euro-Atlantic community. We fully support the improvement in Croatia's relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina. We welcome Croatia's commitment to the full implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement, to accelerate the return of refugees without discrimination, to co-operate with ICTY, and to promote regional security. We look forward to tomorrow's signature of the PfP Framework Document by the Croatian Foreign Minister and to Croatia's participation in the subsequent EAPC Ministerial meeting. We will co-operate closely with Croatia in the EAPC and PfP, particularly in the areas of peace support operations and the reform and democratic control of Croatia's armed forces.
  4. We remain committed to the full implementation of the goals of the international community for Kosovo, as set out in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244. We continue to work for a peaceful, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and democratic Kosovo where all its people, irrespective of ethnic origin or religion, can live in peace and security and enjoy universal human rights and freedoms, including rights of persons belonging to minorities, on an equal basis, including through full participation in democratic institutions.
  5. Significant progress has been achieved in Kosovo one year after the deployment of the NATO-led international security force (KFOR). The security situation in Kosovo has improved markedly. Since KFOR 's arrival, more than one million refugees and displaced persons, victims of a most brutal ethnic cleansing campaign, have returned to their homes.
  6. We express our strong support for the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the UN Secretary General's Special Representative. We are pleased with the excellent level of co-ordination and co-operation between KFOR and UNMIK in implementing the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244. UNMIK has established Joint Interim Administrative Structures where the people of Kosovo work together towards the establishment of a democratic society based on the rule of law, tolerance and respect for human and cultural rights. We welcome the courageous action of those Kosovo Serbs who have decided to take their place, along with the Kosovar Albanians and other communities, in these structures. We encourage leaders of all communities, and in particular Kosovo Serb leaders, to join in this process. Full participation in the structures will help ensure Kosovo's multi-ethnic future.
  7. To the same end, we call on all members of the Kosovo community to take part in this autumn's municipal elections. We commend the OSCE for its determination to organise and supervise elections which will be safe, free and fair. KFOR will play an essential supporting role. The election of a new representative leadership at municipal level throughout Kosovo will contribute to the process of strengthening the rule of law, municipal self-government and the development of democracy. We acknowledge the important contribution of other governmental and non-governmental organisations to the normalisation process in Kosovo.
  8. While noteworthy progress has been made, much remains to be done, in particular with regard to the protection of ethnic groups and minorities. Regrettably, minority groups remain vulnerable to acts of violence by Kosovar Albanian extremists. This represents one of the most challenging issues for KFOR and UNMIK. We condemn all acts of violence, be they ethnically, politically or criminally motivated. We commend KFOR's robust actions to deal with extremists from all sides and provide security and protection to members of all ethnic groups and minorities. We welcome and support UNMIK's efforts to intensify the fight against organised crime, arms trafficking, the illegal possession of weapons, and the trafficking of women, as well as its efforts to develop a fully functioning police and judicial system. We are committed to enabling all displaced persons to exercise the right to return to Kosovo. We stress the responsibility of the local leaders to speak out clearly against violence directed towards minorities and in support of a multi-ethnic Kosovo, and to abide by their commitments. Ethnic violence is unacceptable and will undermine the continuing support of the international community for Kosovo.
  9. Mitrovica has been a flashpoint of inter-ethnic tensions that continues to require special attention. We commend KFOR and UNMIK for progress achieved in their joint efforts to promote co-existence in a united and secure Mitrovica. We welcome the recent appointment of a regional administrator for Mitrovica as further evidence of UNMIK's determination to enforce its authority throughout Kosovo. We condemn all attempts, whether from Belgrade or elsewhere, to incite ethnic tension in the city.
  10. We are concerned about continued violence and instability in the area adjacent to the internal boundary between Kosovo and Serbia. We fully support KFOR's actions to strengthen its control of Kosovo's borders and boundaries and its firm action against those who wish to use Kosovo as a base from which to export violence. We regard any unrest or instability in these areas as a threat to our efforts to establish peace and stability throughout the region.
  11. We welcome the progress made in establishing the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) as a civilian, non-partisan, multi-ethnic body working for the benefit of all communities, and under the close control of UNMIK and KFOR. We appreciate the establishment of the KPC Disciplinary Code and the Compliance Enforcement Framework and emphasise that any breaches will be dealt with firmly. We endorse KFOR's enforcement of compliance with the Disciplinary Code while also providing day-to-day operational direction and tasking to the KPC under the overall authority of the UN Secretary General's Special Representative. We welcome KFOR's robust action to confiscate and destroy illegally held arms.
  12. We fully support the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Bringing to justice those individuals responsible for committing war crimes will reinforce the rule of law and provide a basis for reconciliation among the people of Kosovo. KFOR will continue to co-operate with ICTY in the implementation of the Tribunal's mandate.
  13. We welcome Eurocorps' assumption of the rotating command of NATO's KFOR Headquarters.
  14. We remain firmly committed to the full implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement. We fully support the conclusions of the Peace Implementation Council Ministerial Meeting held in Brussels on 23 May 2000, and its determination to integrate Bosnia and Herzegovina as a single, multi-ethnic, democratic state into Euro-Atlantic structures. We believe that it is now time for Bosnia and Herzegovina to think about its place in wider European security. If the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina are to make progress towards their objective of Euro-Atlantic integration there must be fundamental changes. In particular, in the security sphere, they must:
    • support the further development of the Standing Committee on Military Matters (SCMM) into a state defence institution;
    • develop a common security policy for Bosnia and Herzegovina including a unified command for its forces;
    • enhance transparency and confidence-building measures between Entity armed forces;
    • agree to fundamentally re-structure the Entity armed forces to make them transparent, affordable and consistent with long-term security needs; and
    • as the next step towards this, implement this year their commitment to a further 15% reduction in Entity military manpower and defence expenditures.

  15. We urge the leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina to take on greater responsibility for the process of peace implementation. In this regard, we welcome the initial 15% reduction achieved in 1999 in military manpower and defence expenditures. We also welcome the important progress made in increased levels of refugee returns, civil reconstruction and the establishment of the Brcko district and its demilitarisation. We call on all parties to continue to work together and with the international community in furthering this process.
  16. We welcome the successful conduct of the municipal elections on 8 April. These elections confirmed the emerging trend in Bosnia and Herzegovina towards pluralism and democracy. We look forward to the general elections to be held this November under the supervision of the OSCE, and hope that they will be a further step in this direction. We support all elected leaders and officials who work actively to achieve the full implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement, including facilitating returns of refugees and displaced persons.
  17. Despite encouraging progress, important challenges remain. These include market reform, economic re-construction and the creation of a self-sustaining economy; the return of refugees and displaced persons to areas in which returnees are in the minority, in particular in urban areas; further progress in humanitarian de-mining; improving the effectiveness of all common institutions, notably the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and co-operation between Entities; transferring to the ICTY persons indicted for war crimes; the fight against corruption, organised crime and illegal secret services; judicial and police reform; and the full establishment of a state border service.
  18. We are pleased with the successful restructuring of SFOR and are confident that this smaller, more flexible force will remain fully capable of carrying out its mandate. SFOR will continue to contribute to security and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina, working closely with the Office of the High Representative and with other organisations, such as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Police Task Force and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). We fully endorse SFOR's continuing strong support for the ICTY in bringing to justice persons indicted for war crimes. We welcome SFOR's recent successes in implementing this mandate in a firm and even-handed manner.
  19. We express our support for the efforts towards democratic change in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), and encourage all political forces working towards this end. We note with great concern the repression of independent media and peaceful student protests by the Belgrade regime, particularly the reported mass detentions of students and other members of the opposition. The recent take-over of Belgrade TV Studio B and Radio B2-92 is the latest flagrant violation of the freedom of expression in the FRY. We are also extremely concerned about the apparent political nature of the recent conviction by a Serbian court of 143 Kosovo Albanians on terrorism charges. We call upon the Serbian authorities to refrain from holding such political trials and to uphold international standards of criminal justice. Only genuine democratic change which ensures respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and protects the rights of all minorities, including those in Vojvodina and Sandjak, will open the way for the eventual return of the FRY to the Euro-Atlantic family of nations and facilitate its integration into the international community.
  20. We remain concerned about continued tensions between the Belgrade regime and the democratically elected government of Montenegro and continue to monitor the situation very closely. Recalling our continued interest in the stability and security of the region, and of Montenegro, we call on both sides to manage their differences in a peaceful and pragmatic way and to refrain from any destabilising measures.
  21. The Alliance remains committed to the integration of all the countries of South-East Europe into the Euro-Atlantic Community. The co-operation with countries in the region through the EAPC and PfP, as well as the South-East Europe Initiative, launched at the Washington Summit, supports and encourages regional co-operation and helps individual countries in their efforts to draw closer to Euro-Atlantic institutions. NATO's efforts are aimed at enabling the countries of the region to work together to ensure their own security and thus support and complement the objectives of the Stability Pact for South-East Europe. Today we received a progress report on the various efforts under the South-East Europe Initiative and the Alliance's contribution to the objectives of the Stability Pact and note with satisfaction the progress achieved. We applaud the co-operation between the Alliance, the World Bank and Bulgaria and Romania, facilitated through the Stability Pact, to retrain and reintegrate former military officers into labour markets. We look forward to contributing to the Stability Pact effort to develop a South-East Europe regional civil-military emergency response capability. NATO will continue to seek similar opportunities for joint action and to co-operate with other institutions including, in particular, in the framework of the Stability Pact. We are especially encouraged by the increasing number of regional initiatives that demonstrate the desire of the countries in the region to take ownership of their own development.
  22. We direct the Council in Permanent Session to continue to pursue efforts under the South-East Europe Initiative and the Alliance's contribution to the objectives of the Stability Pact and to report on further progress by the time of our next meeting.
  23. We reviewed the implementation of the Defence Capabilities Initiative (DCI) which will provide the forces and capabilities the Alliance urgently requires to meet the security challenges of the 21st century. We welcome the progress that has been made so far in implementing the DCI and look forward to further improvement in Alliance military capabilities and to increased interoperability of forces. Recent operations, especially in Kosovo, have revealed the need for improvements in a number of areas, particularly in NATO's ability to move forces quickly to where they are needed; to support them for as long as necessary, including through rotation; to provide them with the means they need to fulfil their mission properly and without unacceptable risk; and to enable them to communicate and operate smoothly and effectively with one another. The DCI sets out specific measures that the Alliance as a whole, and the Allies individually, must take in these areas.
  24. The main responsibility for the successful implementation of the DCI rests with nations. We recognise that for some Allies co-operative multi-national arrangements are likely to provide the most viable solution to some of the current capability shortfalls. In this respect, collective efforts, including pooling and sharing of resources, multi-national, joint and common funding, as well as co-operative procurement, will be important. All nations must be ready to provide the resources necessary to achieve DCI objectives.
  25. The DCI will also promote greater interoperability among Alliance forces and, where applicable, between Allied and Partner forces. The DCI is essential to strengthening European defence capabilities and the European pillar of NATO, so that European Allies will be able to make a stronger and more coherent contribution to NATO. It will also improve their capability to undertake EU-led operations where the Alliance as a whole is not engaged. Because Partners have an important part to play in future NATO-led operations, we welcome their current engagement in elements of the DCI and will keep under review the enhancement of their involvement.
  26. Radio frequencies are a scarce national resource. The creation of a market in radio spectrum has increased pressure for more spectrum to become available for commercial use. Taking into consideration that charging for the use of the spectrum is within national responsibility, we recommend that NATO nations provide visiting NATO military forces access to radio spectrum free of charge on the basis of reciprocity and by specific arrangements that should cover temporary force visits, such as during operations, training or exercises, as well as forces stationed for an indefinite period of time. In the case that national legislation demands charging for the use of the spectrum, those fees that originate from visiting or guest forces should be dealt with by the host nation.
  27. We remain committed to reinforcing NATO's European pillar. The development of a capable and effective ESDI will strengthen the Alliance, through which we remain ready to pursue common security objectives wherever possible. Alliance work in this respect is proceeding, as set out at the Washington Summit and taking into account the evolution of relevant arrangements in the EU, to address, inter alia, means to ensure the development of effective mutual consultation, co-operation and transparency, building on the mechanisms existing between NATO and the WEU; participation of non-EU European Allies; as well as practical arrangements for assured EU access to NATO planning capabilities and for ready EU access to NATO collective assets and capabilities on a case-by-case basis and by consensus.
  28. Allies will need to consider the EU decisions that will be taken at the Feira European Council meeting. The Council in Permanent Session will co-ordinate work on the NATO side and be ready for dialogue.
  29. We took note of the Progress Report on the follow-up to the Washington Summit decisions on ESDI and directed the Council in Permanent Session to intensify work in this area. We are ready to enter into discussions with the EU on a substantial agenda of common work, including among other issues:
    • the definition of modalities for effective mutual consultation, co-operation and transparency between NATO and the EU, building on existing mechanisms between NATO and the WEU, and taking into consideration the proposals for NATO-EU consultative arrangements currently under discussion in the European Union;
    • practical arrangements for assured EU access to NATO planning capabilities and for ready EU access to NATO collective assets and capabilities on a case-by-case basis and by consensus as set out at Washington;
    • arrangements for the exchange of information, which is the most pressing need, and, as a matter of priority, the conclusion of a Security Agreement. We have therefore tasked the Secretary General to immediately initiate contacts with the EU and to prepare the ground for the future security arrangements between the two organisations in anticipation of the envisaged consultations on this matter.

    We will intensify work on the participation of non-EU Allies and, in this context, we look forward to considering the EU decisions that will be taken at the Feira meeting:

    • we underline, as we did at the Washington Summit, the importance of finding solutions satisfactory to all Allies, for the necessary involvement of non-EU European Allies in the structures which the EU is setting up to ensure the necessary dialogue, consultation and co-operation with European NATO members which are not members of the EU on issues related to European security and defence policy and crisis management. We note the establishment of interim political and military structures within the EU. We welcome the recent meeting between the EU and the non-EU European Allies on 11 May;
    • we note that the non-EU European NATO members will participate, if they so wish, in the event of an operation involving the use of NATO assets and capabilities, and that they will be invited, upon decision by the EU, to take part in other EU-led operations. We note that consultations, when the possibility of an EU-led operation is under consideration, will provide a framework for exchanges of views and discussion on any related security concerns raised by the countries concerned. Where the EU recourse to NATO assets is under active consideration, particular attention will be given to consultation with the six non-EU European NATO members. We see these EU decisions as important steps to achieve the goals envisaged by our Heads of State and Government at the Washington Summit. Participation of non-EU European Allies will enhance the effectiveness of EU-led military operations and will contribute directly to the effectiveness and vitality of the European pillar of NATO. For EU-led operations involving the use of NATO assets and capabilities, modalities will need to be agreed if Canada chooses to participate.

  30. We note work in the EU towards developing the new capabilities associated with its Headline Goal as called for at the Helsinki Summit, so as to contribute to the improvement and strengthening of European military capabilities. In this regard, we note the intention of the EU to hold a Capabilities Commitment Conference later this year. The contribution of the non-EU European Allies to this process is and will be important. The Alliance's Defence Capabilities Initiative is already supporting the enhancement of European capabilities. The EU's Headline and Capability Goals and the objectives arising from NATO's DCI will be mutually reinforcing. NATO stands ready to provide - subject to the necessary decisions - to the EU military planning expertise as required for the elaboration of the EU Headline and Capability Goals, drawing, as appropriate, on NATO's defence planning and PARP and to consider further how NATO's defence planning system could be further adapted to incorporate more comprehensively the availability of forces for EU-led operations.
  31. Relations between NATO and the EU will build on the mechanisms existing between NATO and the WEU, relations between which continue to develop well. In that regard, the recent and useful CMX/CRISEX exercise offered valuable lessons for NATO-WEU co-operation, particularly in the areas of command and control and access to NATO assets.
  32. We are pleased with the ongoing contacts between NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson and the EU's High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana. These contacts should be strengthened and further developed. We welcome Dr. Solana's attendance at our meeting.
  33. We direct the Council in Permanent Session to continue with the implementation of all Washington Summit decisions in this context, on an ongoing basis, taking into account the evolution of relevant arrangements in the EU and to report to us at our next meeting.
  34. Recalling the decisions taken at the Washington Summit, we reaffirm the Alliance's commitment to remain open to new members. A year after the accession of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, we are all the more convinced that our decision to enlarge was an important strategic choice for the Alliance and for Euro-Atlantic security. The three countries which joined NATO in 1999 will not be the last. The Alliance expects to extend further invitations in coming years to nations willing and able to assume the responsibilities and obligations of membership, and as NATO determines that their inclusion would serve the overall political and strategic interests of the Alliance and enhance overall European security and stability.
  35. At the Washington Summit, NATO Heads of State and Government decided to review the enlargement process at their next Summit meeting, which will be held no later than 2002, and tasked us to keep the process, including the implementation of the Membership Action Plan (MAP), under continual review. We considered today a consolidated progress report, submitted to us by the Council in Permanent Session, on the first year's activities under the MAP. We have directed the Council in Permanent Session to continue to pursue active implementation of the MAP and to examine improvements to its functioning, consulting the aspirants as appropriate.
  36. We welcome the strong commitment of the nine aspiring countries to the MAP, and to reform and co-operation, as reaffirmed at Vilnius on 19 May, and are pleased with the progress made to date in implementing the MAP. This spring, meetings of the North Atlantic Council have taken place with senior members of the governments of each of the aspiring countries to examine progress made. Advice, feedback and assistance given by the Alliance and by individual NATO members has contributed significantly to better focusing their preparations for possible future membership in all areas covered by the MAP, including political and economic issues, defence and military issues, resource, security and legal issues. MAP-related Partnership Goals and tailored PfP Individual Partnership Programmes have been agreed with the aspirants, to assist them in their efforts to meet the goals they have set themselves in the defence/military field. These goals are challenging. The establishment of priorities and the allocation of sufficient resources by the aspirants will be essential to achieve them.
  37. We remain firmly committed to strengthening the EAPC and PfP to enhance co-operation, transparency and confidence among all the members of the Euro-Atlantic community. We welcome the activities within the EAPC/PfP framework to promote practical regional co-operation and lasting peace and security in South-Eastern Europe, as well as in the Caucasus and Central Asia. We also welcome the progress made in the EAPC/PfP framework in support of broader efforts to address the challenge of small arms and light weapons and global humanitarian mine action.
  38. We look forward to the meeting of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council tomorrow and the presence of the Special Co-ordinator of the Stability Pact for South-East Europe, Mr. Bodo Hombach. At this meeting we will discuss ways in which the EAPC/PfP can be made more effective in conflict prevention and crisis management.
  39. We endorsed reports today on the Enhanced and More Operational Partnership, on the implementation of the Operational Capabilities Concept as well as on the Training and Education Enhancement Programme. We highly value the significant progress since the Washington Summit in implementing the important decisions on further enhancing the Partnership for Peace and making it more operational. We look forward, at our next meeting, to reviewing progress on these initiatives and on implementation of the Political-Military Framework for NATO-led PfP operations, on the basis of a progress report and in the light of the review to be undertaken with Partners shortly.
  40. We remain committed to building a strong, stable and enduring partnership with the Russian Federation in accordance with the NATO-Russia Founding Act. We welcome the recent steps towards the resumption of consultation and co-operation in the PJC framework on a broader range of issues. We look forward to the meeting this afternoon of the PJC in Ministerial session.
  41. We value the continuing co-operation between NATO and Russia in Bosnia and in Kosovo. We note the continued dialogue and co-operation in the framework of the Permanent Joint Council (PJC) on issues relating to the operations in Bosnia and Kosovo, building on the valuable experience of practical co-operation with Russian forces in both SFOR and KFOR. We call on Russia to abide by its commitments to the ICTY, including by acting on ICTY indictments.
  42. The early establishment of a NATO Information Office in Moscow, as foreseen in the Founding Act, will be an important step in deepening our relations. We emphasise the need to open in the near future a NATO Military Liaison Mission in Moscow, also called for in the Founding Act, and look forward to the further development of military-to-military co-operation.
  43. We encourage Russia to resume the full scope of consultation and co-operation envisaged in the Founding Act. In this context, we call on Russia to participate actively in the EAPC and in the PfP.
  44. We remain deeply concerned about the ongoing conflict in Chechnya, in particular the difficult situation of displaced persons and reports of widespread human rights violations by all sides and disproportionate and indiscriminate use of Russian military force. We note the UN statements on these reports and the announcement in Moscow on 17 April of a commission of inquiry to investigate them. Recalling the recent UN Commission on Human Rights resolution, we emphasise that, to be effective, any commission of inquiry must be independent and broad-based, and must carry forward its work comprehensively, expeditiously and transparently. We urge Russia to accord access to Chechnya for representatives of all international organisations, in particular the OSCE Assistance Group and the UN Human Rights Special Rapporteurs. While acknowledging the right of Russia to preserve its territorial integrity and its right and responsibility to protect all its citizens against criminality and terrorism, which we condemn in all its forms, we urge Russia to respect its international obligations as a member of the United Nations, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, as well as the relevant principles enshrined in the Founding Act.
  45. We continue to believe that there is no military solution to this conflict. We urge the Russian government to pursue every avenue for a political solution to the conflict, including through a substantive dialogue with Chechen representatives. We expect the Chechen side to co-operate in good faith in seeking a solution to the conflict, to condemn terrorism and to take action against it.
  46. We welcome the progress made in developing the distinctive partnership between NATO and Ukraine, as underscored by the recent meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission in Kyiv. We look forward to the meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission tomorrow.
  47. We applaud Ukraine's participation in the PfP programme. We are convinced that the recent approval by the Verkhovna Rada of the ratification of the SOFA is a significant step forward in enhancing the contribution of Ukraine to PfP, including through exercises hosted by Ukraine. We encourage the Ukrainian Government to implement expeditiously the necessary restructuring of its armed forces. To this end, we are ready to continue NATO's support for the implementation of defence reform and welcome the ongoing efforts in the Joint Working Group on Defence Reform. We wish to thank Ukraine for its continued contribution to KFOR. Ukraine's presence in Kosovo is evidence of the importance it attaches to the stability of the region.
  48. We are satisfied that the NATO Information and Documentation Centre and the NATO Liaison Office in Kyiv are now fully staffed and operational, and that they are already making a contribution to the further consolidation of the partnership.
  49. Recalling the decisions taken in Washington on the Mediterranean Dialogue, we recognise and welcome the interest of our Mediterranean partners in developing the Dialogue, including through strengthened co-operation in areas where NATO can bring added value, particularly in the military field. We welcome the progress report received today on the Mediterranean Dialogue, including on the financing modalities and related practical arrangements, and the positive outcome of the visits conducted by NATO senior political officials to Mediterranean Dialogue countries. We encourage Allies and Mediterranean countries to organise events such as the earlier ones in Rome and Valencia. We acknowledge the important role played by the Contact Point Embassies. Taking into account the Dialogue's progressive and non-discriminatory nature, we stand ready to consider means to continue and deepen the political and practical dimensions of our co-operative relations with all the Mediterranean partners.
  50. We welcome Algeria's participation in the Dialogue, and are convinced that Algeria will contribute to furthering its aims, including by strengthening regional security and stability.
  51. The Adaptation of the CFE Treaty will ensure the continuing viability of the Treaty as a cornerstone of European security and stability. We are pleased that the Adapted Treaty will permit accession by new States Parties. Allies are now engaged in preparing for the implementation of the Adapted Treaty. We advocate its entry into force at the earliest possible time, but this can only be envisaged in the context of compliance by all States Parties with the Treaty's agreed levels of armaments and equipment, consistent with the commitments contained in the CFE Final Act. We look for early and effective implementation of Russia's commitments to reduce and withdraw its forces from Moldova and Georgia. In this regard, we welcome efforts by Allies and OSCE Partners to provide assistance to facilitate implementation of these commitments. We remain concerned about the continued high levels of Russian Treaty Limited Equipment in the North Caucasus in relation to the Treaty's Article V ("flank") limits. These levels must be brought into line with Treaty limits, in a manner consistent with agreed counting rules and procedures, if entry into force is to be possible. We have noted Russia's assurances that this breach of CFE limits will be of a temporary nature and expect Russia to honour its pledge to reduce to CFE limits as soon as possible and, in the meantime, to provide maximum transparency regarding its forces and equipment in the North Caucasus. It is on this basis that Allies will continue to work towards bringing the Adapted Treaty into force. Pending the completion of this process, the continued implementation of the existing Treaty and its associated documents remains crucial.
  52. We welcome the ratification of the Treaty on Open Skies by Ukraine. We call on Russia and Belarus to ratify the Treaty to allow it to enter into force as soon as possible.
  53. We continue to attach the utmost importance to full implementation of and compliance with international disarmament and non-proliferation regimes. As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the entry into force of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), we continue to regard as a matter of priority the conclusion of negotiations on appropriate measures, including possible verification measures and proposals to strengthen the convention, to be included as appropriate in a legally binding instrument. We reiterate our commitment to efforts to achieve such an instrument as soon as possible before the 5th Review Conference of the BTWC in 2001. We are committed to the universalisation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and its full implementation. We are also committed to strengthening the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) as an important element in our efforts to counter the proliferation of the means of delivery for Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).
  54. NATO Allies value the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as the cornerstone of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament. Alliance nations have dramatically reduced nuclear weapons and delivery systems, and reaffirm their commitment to work for the further reduction of nuclear weapons globally. We welcome the positive outcome of the NPT Review Conference. The Conference agreed on the importance of universal adherence to and compliance with the NPT, and reaffirmed the commitment of all States Parties to disarmament, safeguards and peaceful nuclear co-operation. Allies confirm their commitments made at the NPT Review Conference and will contribute to carrying forward the conclusions reached there.
  55. At the Washington Summit, NATO leaders committed the Alliance to consider options for confidence and security building measures, verification, non-proliferation and arms control and disarmament, in the light of overall strategic developments and the reduced salience of nuclear weapons. At the December 1999 Ministerial meeting, we set this process in train. Today we received a progress report on the consultations that are taking place in the responsible NATO bodies, and welcome the fact that a comprehensive and integrated review is well underway. We look forward to receiving a substantive report for Ministerial consideration in December 2000. We have instructed the Council in Permanent Session to task the Senior Political Committee (Reinforced) to oversee and integrate the work on the process by establishing, as the next step, the framework for this report. NATO's decision to set in train this process further demonstrates Allied commitment to promoting arms control and disarmament and to strengthening the international non-proliferation regime.
  56. We welcome the ratification of the START II Treaty by Russia. We attach great importance to the conclusion of START III as soon as possible while preserving and strengthening the ABM Treaty as a cornerstone of strategic stability and as a basis for further reductions of strategic offensive weapons. Given the need to reduce the uncertainties surrounding substrategic nuclear weapons in Russia, we believe that a reaffirmation - and perhaps codification - of the 1991/92 Presidential Initiatives might be a first, but not exhaustive, step in this direction. We remain committed to an early entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and in that context, welcome the Russian Duma and Federation Council's approval of the ratification of the CTBT by Russia. Pending entry into force of the CTBT, we urge all states with nuclear capabilities to abide by a moratorium on nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions and refrain from any actions which are contrary to the obligations and provisions of the CTBT. As a matter of priority, we are also committed to the immediate commencement of negotiations on, and the rapid conclusion of a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable and universal Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty. We believe that a moratorium on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices should be observed pending conclusion of these negotiations. We appeal to all states to participate constructively in the Conference on Disarmament and its different activities.
  57. The proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) weapons and their means of delivery can pose a direct military threat to Allies' populations, territory and forces and therefore continues to be a matter of serious concern for the Alliance. The principal non-proliferation goal of the Alliance and its members is to prevent proliferation from occurring, or, should it occur, to reverse it through diplomatic means. In this context, we place great importance on arms control and the non-proliferation and export control regimes as means to prevent proliferation.
  58. Our response to the NBC threat should be consistent with the indivisibility of Allied security. We reaffirm that the Alliance's defence posture must have the capability to address appropriately and effectively the risks associated with the proliferation of NBC weapons and their means of delivery. We note continued work in NATO inter alia on Theatre Missile Defence for point and area defence, in particular the decision earlier this year to initiate a feasibility study on a possible system for the defence of deployed NATO forces.
  59. The Alliance has made significant progress in implementing the WMD Initiative approved at the Washington Summit. A WMD Centre has been established and will improve co-ordination of WMD-related activities at NATO Headquarters, as well as strengthen non-proliferation-, arms control-, and disarmament-related political consultations and defence efforts to improve the preparedness of the Alliance to respond to the risks of WMD and their means of delivery. We have enhanced consultations among Allies on disarmament and non-proliferation issues broadly. We have also engaged in renewed consultations with Russia on non-proliferation issues under the Permanent Joint Council, and have likewise held discussions with Ukraine in the NATO-Ukraine Commission. These consultations have enabled us to exchange views on common interests and common objectives in the area of responding to proliferation.
  60. We have launched an active process of consultation within the Alliance on the United States consideration of a possible limited National Missile Defence deployment. We appreciate the comprehensive briefings provided by the United States authorities on this issue as well as the exchange of views among Allies. We welcome the United States' assurance that the views of Allies will be taken into account as they consider their plans further. We will continue to follow closely the US and Russian discussions of START III and the ABM Treaty and trust that the outcome will preserve and strengthen the role of the ABM Treaty, and enable further reductions in US and Russian strategic forces. We instruct the Council in Permanent Session to continue discussion of these issues.
  61. Terrorism constitutes a serious threat to peace, security and stability that can threaten the territorial integrity of states. We strongly condemn this scourge, and reiterate our determination to combat it in accordance with our international commitments and national legislation. The terrorist threat against deployed NATO forces and NATO installations requires the continued consideration and development of appropriate measures for their protection, taking full account of host nation responsibilities.
  62. We welcome the progress made in the review of Civil Emergency Planning (CEP) in NATO. This review, which is aimed at a more effective use of civilian resources, will ensure that CEP is adapted to meet the needs of the Alliance's fundamental security tasks. A close working relationship between the civil and the military communities will contribute to a more effective use of Allied and Partner civilian resources in Alliance activities such as peace support operations. We are now consulting with Partners, with whom we have already developed excellent collaboration in this field. We task the Council in Permanent Session to bring the reform of CEP to a conclusion at an early date.
  63. We paid tribute to General Wesley Clark for his outstanding service to the Alliance throughout his tenure as SACEUR and welcome the appointment of General Joseph Ralston as his successor.

  64. We express our deep appreciation to the Government of Italy for hosting this meeting.

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