Updated: 10-Jun-2005 NATO Press Releases


9 June 2005

Final Communique

Meeting of the North Atlantic Council
In Defence Ministers Session
Held in Brussels on Thursday, 9 June 2005

1. The North Atlantic Council met in Defence Ministers’ session on 9 June 2005.

2. We discussed NATO’s current operations and missions, and progress on the transformation of NATO’s military capabilities.

3. We pay tribute to all the men and women who have taken part in NATO-led operations and offer our sympathy to the families and loved ones of those who have died and to those who have been wounded in the course of their service. We are grateful for the contributions our Partners and other non-NATO nations are making to Alliance operations.

4. Progress has been made in bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan. NATO will continue to assist the Afghan authorities in close coordination with other international organisations. ISAF expansion to the Western part of the country will soon be completed. Two Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) have very recently come under NATO command and two newly established PRTs will follow in the summer. Planning for a further expansion of ISAF to stage 3, the South, is continuing. We tasked the Military Authorities to proceed with the operational planning of National Assembly and provincial elections support, which will include the temporary deployment of additional forces, and to take the expansion of ISAF forward, to undertake a comprehensive revision of the Operation Plan and to take measures to enhance ISAF/OEF synergy, in conformity with ISAF’s UNSC mandate. We will consider broadening our existing common strategy for Afghanistan by offering additional support to the Afghan Authorities in accordance with the anticipated post-Bonn process.

5. We maintain a robust and capable force in Kosovo through KFOR. We welcome the launch of the UN-led process to review Standards Implementation which, depending on its outcome, could lead to the initiation of negotiations towards a political solution for the future status of Kosovo. We are gratified by the success of the seamless transition from SFOR to the European Union’s Operation Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina through the Berlin Plus arrangements and the continuing close cooperation between our respective headquarters there. This confirms the value of close NATO-EU cooperation more generally. In the agreed framework of the NATO-EU strategic partnership, we will work to develop further our cooperation.

6. We remain committed to helping the countries of the Western Balkans, especially through assistance in defence reform, in their quest to join Euro-Atlantic structures and to build democratic, multi-ethnic and peaceful societies. Recent steps, including much improved cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), can help to bring this moment forward. However, the evasion of justice by fugitive indictees, in particular Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic, as well as Ante Gotovina, remains an obstacle to closer integration. These countries must continue to cooperate in their own region and promote good neighbourly relations, find mutually acceptable solutions and reach agreements on outstanding issues.

7. Consistent with UNSC Resolution 1546, all Allies are contributing to the NATO mission to assist the democratically elected Iraqi government in training and equipping Iraqi security forces to hasten the day when it can take full responsibility for the stability of the country and the security of its citizens. We underline the continuing requirement to provide all the forces and resources needed for the implementation of stage 2 of the NATO Training Mission-Iraq, including trust fund donations. We welcome and support the prospective establishment of an Iraqi Training, Education and Doctrine Centre at Ar Rustimiyah by September 2005. We continue to support Poland in its leadership of the multinational division in south central Iraq.

8. We reiterate our commitment to Operation Active Endeavour, NATO’s maritime surveillance and escort operation in the Mediterranean, which contributes to the fight against terrorism, and look forward to the support of Russia, Ukraine and Mediterranean Dialogue Partners for this operation.

9. With regard to Darfur, where the humanitarian situation remains very serious, we are committed to implementing speedily our logistical support to the African Union Mission in Sudan in the areas of strategic deployment and staff-capacity building, following the initial request from the President of the African Union, Mr. Konaré, and subsequent discussions with the AU, EU, UN and other relevant parties. In this effort, NATO is committed to continued coordination with these international organisations, in particular the European Union, and bilateral donors.

10. We reiterate the importance of providing the forces and resources required for all these Alliance missions and operations. NATO’s experience with these demanding operations also clearly demonstrates the need to ensure consistency between political decisions by the Alliance regarding operations and the provision of the forces such operations require. It is important to have an early indication of the likely military demands and the potential availability of forces and resources when making an Alliance decision to launch an operation.

11. NATO’s operational experience with its military forces in the fields of post-conflict and stabilisation activities has clearly demonstrated the importance of continued close cooperation between NATO and other international organisations, and other actors, and the need to optimise such cooperation.

12. We reviewed the status of the various strands of the Alliance’s transformation process and gave direction for further work.

  • We welcomed progress in developing the Comprehensive Political Guidance commissioned last year by Heads of State and Government at Istanbul. In support of the Strategic Concept, it will provide a framework and clear political direction and will set out the priorities for NATO’s continuing transformation and all Alliance capabilities issues, planning disciplines and intelligence. We look forward to its completion by the end of this year.
  • The implementation of the NATO Response Force, which is proceeding towards its full operational capability next year, is an impressive achievement. This highly effective, rapidly deployable force will be able to perform the full range of missions as agreed in the comprehensive NRF concept. The NRF also serves as a catalyst for the transformation of Alliance forces.
  • In conjunction with last year’s Summit, we launched an initiative to make our forces more usable, setting political targets for the proportion of each nation’s land forces which are structured, prepared and equipped for deployed operations (40%) as well as the proportion undertaking or planned for sustained operations at any one time (8%). The work undertaken in response to this initiative has highlighted the need for greater usability and shown that, nationally, meeting the usability targets has been an important incentive for capability improvements, longer-term operational planning and for the restructuring of national forces to improve their deployability. We directed the Council in Permanent Session to pursue the work, and to report to us at our next formal meeting.
  • The Prague Capabilities Commitments have brought some improvements in capabilities, but critical deficiencies persist, particularly in support for our deployed forces. We directed the Council in Permanent Session, by the time of our next formal meeting in the spring of 2006, to prepare an assessment of the results of the PCC and to recommend follow-on arrangements.
  • We welcomed further progress, and encouraged further work, in developing capabilities important for Alliance operations, including:
  • Protecting deployed NATO forces from theatre ballistic missile attack;
  • Completion of the missile defence feasibility study;
  • The completion of a risk reduction study in support of an Alliance Ground Surveillance capability;
  • Recent initiatives by nations to develop new technologies for use in defence against terrorism;
  • The refinement of concepts for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear defence beyond traditional threats to meet the evolving risks;
  • Ongoing work on NATO concepts for network enabled capabilities as a significant potential enabler for command, control, consultation, and information superiority.
  • We remain committed to cooperation and transparency with the European Union, including in the improvement of military capabilities.
  • We welcomed progress on the adjustment of the cost shares for NATO’s common funded budgets. We recognise that this is only part of a wider process of burden-sharing within the Alliance, which will also need to be reviewed. We look forward to the recommendations on both issues being submitted to the Council by the end of July of this year.

13. We support the Secretary General’s reform initiative which is examining working practices and business procedures at NATO Headquarters, while respecting the consensus principle.

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