Updated: 06-May-2002 NATO Press Releases

5 Dec. 2000

Final Communiqué

Meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Defence Ministers Session held in Brussels on 5 December 2000

  1. The North Atlantic Council met in Defence Ministers Session in Brussels on 5th December 2000. We reviewed the situation in the Balkans and the principal items on the Alliance's defence and security agenda.
  2. In the context of recent wide-ranging political developments in the Balkans, we reaffirm NATO's commitment to the promotion of security, stability and democracy in the region. We reiterate our support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all countries in the region. We particularly welcome the democratic changes in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), which offer long awaited prospects for the further development of good neighbourly relations in South-East Europe and for the reinforcement of regional stability. We welcome the FRY's admission to the United Nations, the OSCE, the Stability Pact for South-East Europe, and other international fora, as well as the normalization of its relationships with Allies. We look forward to further positive measures from Belgrade. We encourage the FRY's authorities to improve their contribution to the implementation of UNSCR 1244 and the Dayton Peace Agreement. We stand ready to cooperate with the new federal government in Belgrade in taking forward these positive developments.
  3. We remain grateful for the significant contribution that NATO's Partners, including Russia and Ukraine, and other contributing nations are making towards security, stabilisation, and economic reconstruction. We value the continuing co-operation between NATO and Russian forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Kosovo and remain committed to further close consultations with Russia with regard to the Balkans in accordance with the NATO-Russia Founding Act. We reaffirm our commitment to maintaining security in the region, including through the contribution provided by NATO-led operations. At present our forces will remain at their current overall levels.
  4. We commend the men and women of SFOR and KFOR for their continuing dedication and unswerving efforts in support of peace and reconstruction, in difficult and often dangerous circumstances. We express deep sympathy to the families of those who have lost their lives and to those who have been injured in support of peace in the Balkans.
  5. We remain determined to play a full part in supporting the aims of the international community in Kosovo as mandated in UNSCR 1244. We are working towards a peaceful, democratic Kosovo where all its people, regardless of ethnic origin or religion, can live in security and enjoy universal human rights and freedoms on an equal basis, including through full participation in democratic institutions. We are pleased with the excellent cooperation between UNMIK and KFOR and commend the UN Secretary General's Special Representative for his continued unstinting efforts to promote a fully functioning civil administration. We congratulate KFOR and the UNMIK Police on having ensured that the October 28th municipal elections in Kosovo, held under OSCE supervision, with UNMIK support, took place in a secure environment. We remain very grateful for the practical and political support which neighbouring nations, in particular Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia , continue to provide to KFOR.
  6. We reviewed the status of the NATO-led operations in the region. KFOR continues its efforts to provide a safe and secure environment in Kosovo, but incidents of violence continue to occur, and potential security flashpoints and other possibilities for confrontation remain. We deplore the continuing ethnic and politically motivated attacks and intimidation. We condemn the recent bombing of the FRY liaison office in Pristina and the assassination of Mr. Xhemajl Mustafa, a close advisor to Mr. Rugova. KFOR will continue to deal with all acts which jeopardise a secure environment, in a fair but firm manner in close cooperation with the UNMIK Police. We remain very concerned about the activity of insurgent elements in southern Serbia, and commend the efforts of KFOR to prohibit support from Kosovo for these elements, including by stepping up its control of the internal boundary with southern Serbia. We note that FRY forces remain generally compliant with the terms of the Military Technical Agreement (MTA), and that the Joint Implementation Council (JIC) has delivered tangible results within this framework. We welcome the participation of Russian officers in the JIC. We remain committed to the success of the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) and will continue to support efforts to ensure that it is properly supervised and that it is adequately funded and equipped for its civilian role.
  7. KFOR's support for public security is significant and remains essential. We welcome the increase in numbers of UNMIK Police, who are now performing their functions throughout the province, as well as the steadily increasing contribution of the Kosovo Police Service. Organised crime continues to pose a serious challenge to the people of Kosovo, exacerbated by fragile judicial and penal systems, which create a climate of impunity and undermine KFOR's efforts in this area. KFOR's main border and boundary control activities are focussed on support of UNMIK in countering smuggling so as to improve public security in Kosovo and build confidence in the region. A continuing commitment to border and boundary control is essential. We reaffirm our support for orderly returns of Kosovo Serb and other ethnic minorities to Kosovo and urge the earliest possible progress in rebuilding confidence, especially through the release of Kosovar Albanian prisoners in Serbia and continuing efforts to trace those on all sides who are missing.
  8. We welcome KFOR's continuing support, within means and capabilities, to humanitarian work with a particular focus on the evaluation of civilian needs and the on-going winterization programme. Key successes in this respect have been the transportation of 105,000 tons of humanitarian aid, mainly construction material and foodstuffs, and the transportation of fuel for the two Kosovo power plants. We also welcome the progress made by KFOR as well as non-governmental organisations, coordinated by the UN Mine Action Centre, in clearing Kosovo of land mines and unexploded ordnance; and KFOR's success through weapons finds and its commercial destruction programme in removing from circulation over 15,000 weapons and five million rounds of ammunition. We strongly endorse KFOR's continued efforts to seize illegal arms.
  9. We reviewed KFOR's overall force levels which at present will be maintained. We directed our Permanent Representatives to conduct a further review of KFOR's role and missions in time for our spring meeting next year.
  10. We note the outcome of the recent general elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina, organised and supervised by the OSCE. We call upon all authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to strengthen their efforts towards the full implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement and the achievement of the goals set out by the Peace Implementation Council (PIC), including the enhancement of confidence and security measures as set forth in Annex 1B of the Agreement. We encourage the Presidency to give priority, through the Standing Committee on Military Matters (SCMM), to the relevant military issues addressed by the Peace Implementation Council in May 2000. The PIC Declaration emphasised there must be fundamental changes. Bosnia and Herzegovina needs to have armed forces with a unified command and control capable of joint deployment and joint action under international and regional security organisations. We call for rapid progress in restructuring the Entities' armed forces. We commend the role played by SFOR in this context and will continue to support all efforts to strengthen the SCMM. We note the offer of the World Bank to provide funds for the retraining of soldiers made redundant by this restructuring, on the presentation of a sound plan by the region's leaders. We reaffirm our commitment to further contribute to enhancing stability and confidence in Bosnia and Herzegovina and to strengthen cooperation between the Entities' armed forces through the NATO-Bosnia and Herzegovina Security Cooperation Programme for 2001. We call upon the countries neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina to support the full implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement.
  11. We note the further progress in implementing the civil aspects of the Dayton Peace Agreement. While we welcome the steps which have been taken towards strengthening Bosnia and Herzegovina's central institutions, including the inauguration of the State Border Service, we believe that much more progress is needed in this respect. We commend the High Representative for his measured but firm approach to the introduction of key legislation, including property laws which have helped to accelerate returns of displaced persons and refugees. We congratulate SFOR on having maintained the secure environment which gives refugees confidence to re-establish lives disrupted by conflict.
  12. We endorse SFOR's continuing close working relationship with the civil agencies in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including its support of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), and in particular its actions to detain persons indicted for war crimes. We reaffirm our full support to the ICTY. We will continue our efforts to bring war criminals to justice.
  13. We reviewed SFOR's force levels and structure and concluded that they should be maintained for the present. We directed our Permanent Representatives to provide advice on a medium-term strategy, including a full range of options for the future size and structure of SFOR, for consideration at our next meeting.
  14. We noted with satisfaction the contribution made by NATO's South-East Europe Initiative (SEEI) to regional dialogue and cooperation with a view to enhancing long-term security and stability in the Balkans. 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, including through its security working table. The South East Europe Security Cooperation Steering Group has been established and is promoting practical regional cooperation in the area of security and defence, including harmonisation of security assistance. We welcome the efforts of countries in the region to negotiate a Common Assessment Paper on Regional Security Challenges and Opportunities, which is designed to help regional countries agree upon common security perceptions. Cooperation between NATO and the World Bank to assist Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia to retrain former military officers for civilian employment also offers significant scope to reinforce the goals of the Stability Pact. We tasked our Permanent Representatives to monitor and support the further development of the SEEI and its contribution to the Stability Pact, and report to us at our next regular meeting in spring 2001.
  15. We welcome the results of the Summit meeting between the European Union and the countries of the Stabilization and Association Process held in Zagreb on 24th November 2000. This meeting was an important step on the way towards reconciliation, increased regional cooperation and long-term stabilization. We also welcome in this regard the informal Summit of the South-East Europe Cooperation Process organised in Skopje on 25th October with the participation of all South-East Europe countries, which was also the first meeting attended at summit level by the new FRY democratic authorities.
  16. We reviewed the progress made so far in implementing the Defence Capabilities Initiative (DCI), as agreed by the Heads of State and Government at the Washington Summit, which aims at improving the defence capabilities of the Alliance to ensure the effectiveness of future multinational operations across the full spectrum of Alliance missions. DCI's purpose is to facilitate the Alliance's movement towards forces that are more interoperable, more mobile, readily deployable and highly capable. The Initiative was launched to ensure that the Alliance's forces can deploy quickly, can be supplied, reinforced and sustained for an extended period away from their home bases, and can operate more effectively, with better protection, in the most demanding environments, under effective command and control arrangements. Achieving the goals of the Initiative continues to require a sustained effort by all Allies - both in NATO and in capitals - in the identified shortfall areas. Such an effort would also strengthen the European pillar of the Alliance, taking into account that the objectives arising from DCI and the EU's Headline Goal are mutually reinforcing.
  17. We are encouraged by recent announcements concerning the provision of strategic air and sealift, plans to develop a more robust aerial refuelling capability, plans to cooperate in the procurement and stockpiling of precision guided munitions, and steps being taken to accelerate progress in the provision of improved consultation, command and control capabilities. It is essential that this momentum is maintained. We believe that we have reached an important stage in implementing the DCI. We remain committed to providing sufficient resources to ensure its implementation. We are also committed to making the most effective use of resources and to finding innovative approaches to overcoming shortfalls in capabilities, taking advantage of national contributions and possible cooperative and collective arrangements and mechanisms, including multinational, joint and common funding. Therefore, the recent initiatives by a number of Allies to convene meetings to assess the scope of enhanced cooperation in key project areas, including strategic air and sealift, air-to-air refuelling, cooperative acquisition and management of logistics stocks, procurement and stockpiling of precision guided munitions, and tactical communications systems, are encouraging and should, in coordination with the efforts of the relevant NATO committees, provide new impetus in these areas. We are ready to lend our personal support to such cooperation efforts. We also welcome the effort to put greater momentum into work on an Alliance Ground Surveillance System. Ultimately, however, the implementation of DCI will depend on the adequacy of national defence budgets. In order to maintain the necessary high level engagement in DCI implementation, we agreed to extend until 2002 the mandate of the High Level Steering Group which is charged with overseeing the implementation of the DCI.
  18. We took stock of the progress that has been made on the European Security and Defence Identity, on the development of principles and modalities for consultation, cooperation and transparency between NATO and the European Union, and related matters.
  19. The European Allies are committed to further strengthening their military capabilities and to reinforcing the Alliance's European pillar. This will enhance their ability to contribute both to the Alliance's missions and to EU-led operations. Recalling the decisions taken at Washington and at subsequent Ministerial meetings, we welcome these efforts and in particular the progress achieved at the EU Capabilities Commitment Conference towards meeting the EU's Headline Goal by 2003, noting the EU's appreciation of the significant additional contributions offered by non-EU European Allies to the pool of forces available for EU-led operations. Such contributions, as expressed on 21st November 2000 at a meeting between the EU and the non-EU European Allies, are important and will enhance the range of capabilities potentially available to the EU. We note the EU's recognition of the need for further capability improvements.
  20. We welcome the intensified dialogue between NATO and the EU. NATO-EU ad hoc working groups have met to discuss security issues; permanent arrangements for consultation and cooperation; modalities for EU access to NATO assets and capabilities; and capability goals - taking into account all relevant matters, including those related to participation. These discussions, together with two meetings of the North Atlantic Council and the European Union's interim Political and Security Committee, have increased the understanding of the two organisations and their members on how they might most effectively cooperate. We welcome the establishment of an interim security agreement between the two organisations, noting that work is underway on a permanent security agreement.
  21. Alliance experts, on the basis of a Council decision following an EU request, have contributed military and technical advice to the work of EU experts on the production of a catalogue of forces and capabilities for the EU's Headline Goal. We note the EU's acknowledgement of the value of this NATO input. We stand ready to consider any further EU requests for expert advice.
  22. Taking into account the evolution of relevant arrangements in the EU, work on ESDI is continuing within the Alliance as directed at the Washington Summit and agreed at subsequent Ministerial meetings. It has proceeded on the principle that nothing will be agreed until everything is agreed - the participation issue is also relevant in this context. On this basis, and consistent with the decisions taken at Washington and subsequent Ministerial meetings, work has progressed on the various aspects of the Washington agenda. Subject to this, we intend to put in place arrangements for: assured EU access to NATO planning capabilities able to contribute to military planning for EU-led operations; the presumption of availability to the EU of pre-identified NATO capabilities and common assets for use in EU-led operations; the identification of a range of European command options for EU-led operations, further developing the role of DSACEUR in order for him to assume fully and effectively his European responsibilities; and the further adaptation of the Alliance's defence planning system, taking account of relevant activities in and proposals from the European Union. Allies will be consulted on the EU's proposed use of assets and capabilities, prior to the decision to release these assets and capabilities, and kept informed during the operation.
  23. Important work remains to be done which we will pursue intensively. We look forward to considering the decisions to be taken by the European Council in Nice on proposals for NATO-EU permanent arrangements for consultation and cooperation, and on offers for the participation of the non-EU Allies. In this context, in accordance with the Washington Treaty, we stress the importance we attach to respecting the security interests of all Allies and the obligations which they have to each other as Allies.
  24. We direct the Council in Permanent Session to continue work on the implementation of the ESDI decisions as set out at Washington as a matter of priority, taking into account the development of relevant arrangements in the EU, including through continued consultations with the EU.
  25. We noted the decisions taken at the recent Ministerial meeting of the WEU in Marseille. We have valued the close cooperation between NATO and the WEU. We welcomed the crucial role played by the WEU and appreciate its important contribution to the development of the European security and defence architecture. We look forward to the Joint NATO-WEU Exercise Study next year.
  26. The Alliance continues to refine its internal structures and procedures. The introduction of NATO's new command structure, which will improve the Alliance's ability to command the full range of its missions, is well under way; recent progress has included the transfer of command authority to all the headquarters involved. In this context, the implementation of the CJTF concept is proceeding. The Alliance's force structure is undergoing a wide-ranging review. This is one of the most important elements of Alliance restructuring in response to the challenges identified in NATO's Strategic Concept. The review places particular emphasis on the requirements for multi-nationality, deployability, sustainability and readiness. It will be necessary to take into account in the further adaptation of the Alliance's structure the close interrelationship between the CJTF concept, the implementation of NATO's new command structure and this force structure review. We directed our Permanent Representatives, based on the advice of NATO Military Authorities, to report to us at our spring meeting, with conclusions and recommendations on the force structure review.
  27. We reviewed, and endorsed, progress on implementing lessons learned from our experiences during the Kosovo conflict. We reiterated the importance of such lessons in ensuring that the Alliance can respond effectively to similar contingencies in the future. We also attach importance to streamlining and improving the Alliance's defence planning disciplines, including the development of Consolidated Alliance Capability Goals.
  28. We acknowledge the work carried out on the important topic of improving the resource management of the Alliance's military common-funded budgets, with the aim of establishing an output-based, integrated and transparent resource management system. We look forward to further reporting on the status of this review at our next meeting, to include an indication of likely short-term results.
  29. We reaffirm the Alliance's commitment to its Open Door Policy as set out at Washington. 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 the inclusion of these nations would serve the overall political and strategic interests of the Alliance and that the inclusion would enhance overall European security and stability. We are pleased with the implementation of the Membership Action Plan (MAP), particularly the efforts being made to assist the aspirants to develop the preparedness of their defence structures, including through the PfP Planning and Review Process (PARP). We look forward to a consolidated progress report next spring, in order to keep under review aspirants' preparations for possible future membership.
  30. We welcome the strong commitment to defence reform and the modernisation of their armed forces expressed by the nine Defence Ministers of the aspiring countries at their meeting in Sofia on 12th-13th October 2000. Defence reform is highly important for NATO membership, and we reaffirm the need for the aspirants to proceed realistically with the implementation of appropriate and sustainable defence plans. We remain firmly committed to assisting them in achieving their goals in the defence/military field.
  31. We continue to place a high priority on the strengthening of our partnership with all members of the Euro-Atlantic community through the EAPC and the Partnership for Peace. We believe that Partnership is pivotal to the role of the Alliance in promoting security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic region and contributes to the enhancement of the Alliance's capabilities in crisis management. We therefore welcome discussions under way in the EAPC on its possible role in conflict prevention and crisis management, and in developments to promote regional cooperation in South-East Europe as well as in the Caucasus and Central Asia. We are also encouraged by progress in developing practical cooperation to address broader security challenges, such as the proliferation of small arms and light weapons. We welcome and support fully the recent establishment of a PfP Trust Fund on Anti-Personnel Landmine Stockpile Destruction and look forward to periodic reports on its activities.
  32. Today, we noted reports on the enhanced and more operational Partnership and on the implementation of the Operational Capabilities Concept (OCC). These reports illustrate how widespread and important our cooperation with Partners has become across a wide range of Alliance activities. We remain strongly committed to the full implementation of the Political-Military Framework for NATO-led PfP operations. We attach great importance to the development of the OCC as a means to enhance the Alliance's capability to mount and sustain crisis response operations with the participation of Partners, including the ongoing operations in Kosovo and in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We have therefore directed the Council in Permanent Session to provide a report on the implementation of the OCC, including a briefing by the NATO Military Authorities, when we meet in spring 2001.
  33. We appreciate the ongoing work on the implementation of the Training and Education Enhancement Programme, which is becoming increasingly important as PfP develops into a more robust Partnership with more demanding training requirements. We welcome the successful completion of the first Conference of the Training and Education Institutions, including the PfP Training Centres, held in Oberammergau, Germany in November 2000. We also welcome the communication of the draft final report on distributed learning and simulation by the NATO Modelling and Simulation Group, as a testimony to PfP's potential in training and education.
  34. We are very pleased with the evolution of the PfP Planning and Review Process which is making a key contribution to our Partnership by promoting interoperability between the forces of the Alliance and participating Partners. In addition, the PARP has become a valuable instrument in the context of the MAP by helping aspirant countries to adapt their defence plans and force structures to the demands of membership.
  35. As Defence Ministers, we place a particular emphasis on defence reform. We look forward to exploring with our Partners how we can help support their efforts to reorganise and restructure their defence establishments and armed forces and will continue to make full use of the existing clearing house mechanisms to help Partners ensure optimum use of scarce resources in these reform efforts. NATO-Ukraine cooperation on defence reform is an example of how PfP tools might be adapted to better support defence reform requirements. We encourage all Partners to take full advantage of PfP tools and mechanisms in their defence reform efforts.
  36. We look forward to the meeting of the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council (PJC) in Ministerial Session later today. We reaffirm our goal, as stated in the NATO-Russia Founding Act, of a genuine, and reliable partnership with the Russian Federation. We wish to build on the positive experience of cooperation between NATO and Russia in the Balkans. Our joint approach involving practical cooperation between our forces in theatre, while preserving a continuous dialogue at the political level, can serve as a model for the further development of our cooperation.
  37. We welcome the progressive resumption of Russian participation in the EAPC and in PfP. There is considerable scope for enhancing NATO-Russia partnership in the defence and military field. We are ready to contribute to a programme of activities in this area based on the principles of transparency and reciprocity, which would be of mutual advantage. We welcome the Russian proposal to engage in discussions on cooperation in search and rescue at sea. We look forward to endorsing a status report and agreeing a programme of work later today in the PJC. We hope that such cooperation will encourage Russia to resume a broader range of contacts and activities.
  38. We attach great importance to our continued dialogue and cooperation with Russia in the framework of the PJC on such issues as strategy, defence policy and military doctrines, infrastructure development programmes, nuclear weapons, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, theatre missile defence, air defence, and other disarmament and arms control issues, including CFE and Open Skies. We have entered into a useful dialogue on these issues and see the potential for a wider exchange of ideas and perspectives on Euro-Atlantic security matters. We emphasize our wish to open in the near future a NATO Military Liaison Mission in Moscow, as called for in the Founding Act. We also look forward to the early opening of the NATO Information Office in Moscow.
  39. In connection with the situation in North Caucasus, we reaffirm that a mutually satisfactory, just and durable political solution to the conflict in Chechnya is urgent and essential, and that the parties must take steps to begin a dialogue that can lead to a settlement. We call upon the Russian Government to support fully the efforts of humanitarian assistance organisations to relieve the suffering of the displaced.
  40. Encouraging progress was made over the past six months in furthering the NATO-Ukraine distinctive partnership, especially in the area of defence reform. We welcome the approval of Ukraine's State Programme for the Reform of the Armed Forces. We strongly endorse the results of the first meeting of the Joint Working Group on Defence Reform at the senior level in October 2000. We encourage and support the steps being taken to enhance democratic and parliamentary control over the armed forces. We welcome the action plan that expands cooperation activities to new areas and takes full advantage of the PfP Planning and Review Process to support the implementation of Ukraine's plans for its armed forces. To this end, Ukraine and the Allies will work to strengthen bilateral cooperation while harmonising efforts to meet Ukraine's defence reform goals. We fully support mutually-agreed initiatives to further enhance military cooperation in 2001. We reiterate our appreciation for Ukraine's contribution to KFOR.
  41. We continue to attach great importance to work carried out by the NATO Information and Documentation Center and the NATO Liaison Office in Kyiv as means to increase public awareness of our distinctive partnership and to consolidate it. We look forward to the meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission tomorrow.
  42. NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue is an essential part of the Alliance's cooperative approach to security. We are pleased to note the steps taken to develop the Mediterranean Dialogue in both political and practical areas where NATO can bring added value, notably in the field of search and rescue, maritime safety, medical evacuation and humanitarian relief, as foreseen at the Washington Summit. We note in this context the importance of continued discourse among Mediterranean Dialogue nations and hope that the annual Mediterranean Dialogue Conference, originally scheduled for November 2000, will take place soon. We reaffirm the progressive nature of the Dialogue and welcome proposals for developing it in the framework agreed at the Washington Summit. We note the interest expressed by some Mediterranean Dialogue countries in specifically tailored military and defence-related activities and support the ongoing work to implement them in accordance with the agreed framework of the Mediterranean Dialogue.
  43. The proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) weapons and their means of delivery continues to be a matter of serious concern for the Alliance as it poses risks to international and regional stability and can pose a direct military threat to Allies' populations, territory and forces. 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.
  44. The Non-Proliferation Treaty is the cornerstone of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament. We confirm our commitment to contribute to carrying forward the implementation of the conclusions reached at the NPT Review Conference and urge all countries to accede to the Treaty, to comply fully with its provisions, and to support the strengthened safeguards system of the International Atomic Energy Agency. We continue to emphasise the importance of universal accession and adherence to, as well as full compliance with, the Chemical Weapons Convention and are determined to actively promote the conclusion of the negotiations on an effective protocol to strengthen the implementation of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention before the fifth review conference of the BTWC due to be held in November 2001.
  45. We are pleased that the implementation of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Initiative is proceeding well. The newly established WMD Centre is contributing to improved coordination of all WMD-related activities at NATO Headquarters, as well as strengthening non-proliferation related political consultations. We support all efforts under way in the Alliance to improve the ability of NATO and Allied military forces to operate effectively despite the threat or potential use of NBC weapons, including work to adapt defensive preparedness and to improve NATO training and exercises. NATO will continue its consultations on questions related to the possible deployment by the United States of a limited national missile defence programme.
  46. The Alliance is enhancing consultations with Russia on proliferation-related matters under the Permanent Joint Council and with Ukraine in the NATO-Ukraine Commission. We are continuing to prepare for discussions with Partners under the EAPC/PfP framework, and with Mediterranean Dialogue countries within the Mediterranean Dialogue.
  47. On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the signing of the CFE Treaty we recognise the vital contribution the Treaty makes to the stability and security of Europe. The overall implementation of the Treaty since its entry into force in 1992 has brought positive results including significantly reduced holdings of Treaty-limited equipment, enhanced transparency and predictability. However, there continue to be both substantive and technical concerns with specific aspects of CFE implementation, which must be addressed. As we approach the next CFE review conference in 2001, we will seek intensified efforts to resolve these issues. Pending the completion of the process of ratifying the Adapted Treaty, the full and continued implementation of the Treaty and its associated documents remains crucial.
  48. Early entry into force of the Adapted CFE Treaty, which was signed last year by Heads of State and Government at the Istanbul OSCE Summit, will ensure CFE's continuing viability as a cornerstone of European security and stability. We are committed to that end and are pleased that the Adapted Treaty will permit accession by new States Parties. However, as we have made clear ever since Istanbul, we believe ratification by our governments can only be envisaged in the context of compliance by all States Parties with the Treaty's agreed levels of armaments and equipment and consistent with the commitments contained in the CFE Final Act. In this regard we welcome President Putin's recent reaffirmation of Russia's intention to fulfil all CFE Treaty obligations and commitments. We expect concrete results consistent with that assurance. We remain particularly concerned about the continued high levels of Russian Treaty-limited equipment in relation to the Treaty's Article V ("Flank") limits. We continue to attach special importance to early and complete fulfilment of Russia's assurances of 1st November 1999, that its current equipment levels in the North Caucasus are of a temporary nature and will be reduced to CFE limits as soon as possible, in conditions of maximum transparency and in a manner consistent with agreed counting rules and procedures.
  49. We look for no less timely and effective fulfilment of the CFE Final Act commitments requiring the reduction and withdrawal of Russian military forces from Georgia and Moldova in accordance with the timelines agreed at Istanbul. We welcome progress thus far in Georgia, but note the importance of full Russian withdrawal of excess Treaty-limited equipment by the end of this year, and of actual closure of designated Russian military bases by the middle of next year. However, there has been little tangible progress in implementation of the unconditional commitment to complete withdrawal of Russian forces from the territory of Moldova. To meet the deadlines set at Istanbul the pace of withdrawal should be accelerated. We applaud and support the efforts of individual Allies and OSCE Partners to facilitate these activities through financial and other assistance.
  50. We continue to attach great importance to the ratification of the Open Skies Treaty and call on Russia and Belarus to ratify the Treaty to allow it to enter into force as soon as possible. Joint trial observation flights conducted by Signatories, including Russia, have demonstrated the potential of the Open Skies Treaty for enhancing security and confidence.
  51. The Alliance has been conducting a review of the role of civil emergency planning in NATO. The result will take into account the decisions of the Washington Summit and experience in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, and will address the role of civil emergency planning in civil support for Alliance military operations under Article 5; support for non-Article 5 crisis response operations; support for national authorities in civil emergencies, including disaster response; support for national authorities in the protection of populations against the effects of WMD; and cooperation with Partners. We recognise the important part played by the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre as a means of coordinating EAPC countries' humanitarian assistance in times of disaster, bearing in mind the leading role of the United Nations. Civil emergency planning also plays a role in addressing the deployment and mobility recommendations under the Defence Capabilities Initiative. As agreed at the Washington Summit, there is scope for the sharing of national information on capabilities which might be available on request to help stricken nations to cope with the consequences of a weapons of mass destruction attack. This exchange will include information volunteered by nations on consequence management preparedness measures.
  52. We deplore the recent terrorist attacks against nationals of several NATO countries and we deeply regret the tragic loss of life. Terrorism constitutes a serious threat to peace, security and stability that can threaten the territorial integrity of states. We strongly condemn terrorism, and, as Defence Ministers, we remain firm in our determination to combat it in accordance with our international commitments and national legislation.

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