Updated: 12-Jun-2003 NATO Press Releases


12 June 2003

Final communiqué

Meeting of the North Atlantic Council
in Defence Ministers session
held in Brussels on Thursday, 12 June 2003

  1. Today, the North Atlantic Council met in Defence Ministers Session in Brussels to advance the Prague Summit vision of a transformed Alliance with the capabilities to conduct the full range of Alliance missions. We remain committed to continue the speedy implementation of all the decisions taken in Prague. NATO is the basis for our collective defence and the essential transatlantic forum for security and consultation among the Allies. We were very pleased that our colleagues from the seven countries invited to join the Alliance took part in all our discussions.
  2. The Alliance’s ability to conduct operations is crucial to the common security of all Allies. NATO continues to deploy substantial forces to support peace and stability in the Balkans. NATO naval forces continue to carry out anti-terrorist activity in the Mediterranean Sea. The Alliance has just ended the deployment of forces and capabilities to defend Turkey against any possible attack by Iraq. From August 2003, NATO will take the leading role in the International Security Assistance Force in Kabul, under its existing UN mandate, by assuming strategic coordination, command and control, strongly contributing in this way to the international community’s commitment to building a peaceful and democratic Afghanistan. NATO has also agreed to Poland’s request for support to the role it is taking on this summer in the stabilisation of Iraq.
  3. NATO will continue to play an essential role in regional security through its ongoing operations, PfP programmes, and by working with the EU. NATO’s continuing missions in the strategically important region of the Balkans are evolving, as improvements in stability and security continue. NATO-led forces in the Balkans are being and will be further restructured and reduced in numbers as progress allows. NATO and the EU are developing a framework for an enhanced dialogue and a concerted approach on supporting security and stability in the Western Balkans. We welcomed the first concrete implementation of the Berlin Plus arrangements in support of the EU’s Operation Concordia in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (1), following on from NATO’s successful Operation Allied Harmony. The developing relationship with the EU presents us with an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to a strategic partnership as agreed between our two organisations. The development of this partnership between NATO and the EU is important for the further stabilisation of the Balkans, and future planning should take this into account. We look forward to the NATO-EU joint crisis management exercise which will take place in November 2003.
  4. We express our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all those who have served, or continue to serve, in NATO-led operations, particularly those who have suffered injuries. We once again extend our deepest sympathies to the families of those who have lost their lives. We are grateful to NATO’s Partners and other nations for the substantial contributions they have made and are making to our common effort.
  5. Our forces must be able to conduct or support operations wherever the Alliance decides, to ensure our common security and collective defence. Success in doing so depends fundamentally on the effectiveness of the Alliance’s capabilities. We have issued a separate statement on the discussions we have held and the decisions we have taken in this regard. We also reviewed with the Invitees, and acknowledged, the progress they are making in the defence and military reforms required and in preparing more generally for the defence aspects of Alliance membership.
  6. Responding to terrorism is a critical challenge for which our military forces must be prepared. Recent events have again shown that terrorism remains a grave threat to our citizens, forces and territory, as well as to international security, and we reiterate our determination to combat it as long as necessary. We welcome the progress that has been made to strengthen NATO’s capabilities in this regard. As Defence Ministers, we particularly commend the work that has been done to implement NATO’s military concept for defence against terrorism. A concept for operations has been developed which provides the basis for more detailed plans, procedures, and measures in this area. We realise, however, that much more needs to be done, including the intensification of our efforts with our Partners.
  7. NATO’s partnerships make a direct and irreplaceable contribution to Euro-Atlantic peace and stability. We continue to attach great importance to the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and the Partnership for Peace, as well as to our special partnerships with the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and the countries of the Mediterranean Dialogue, and remain fully committed to the speedy implementation of the relevant Prague decisions aimed at strengthening and further developing them. The various work programmes and implementation plans will be robust, forward-looking and responsive to the requirements of Partners seeking closer cooperation with the Alliance. We also commit ourselves to the implementation of the military and defence-related aspects of the NATO-Russia Council Work Programme and to assist Ukraine in the implementation of the NATO-Ukraine Action Plan and Ukraine’s Annual Target Plan.
  8. We fully agree with the statements made on these and other matters by our Foreign Minister colleagues earlier this month.


  1. Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.
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