Updated: 08-Dec-2005 NATO Press Releases


8 Dec

Final Communiqué

Ministerial meeting of the North Atlantic Council
held at NATO Headquarters, Brussels,
on 8 December 2005

  1. NATO is the basis for our collective defence. It embodies the vital partnership between Europe and North America and is the essential forum for transatlantic consultations on the security challenges we face at the beginning of the 21st century. Our Alliance is founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law as enshrined in the Washington Treaty and is faithful to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter. Enhanced political dialogue is key to addressing today’s challenges to the security of Alliance members. NATO is reforming, modernising its military capabilities to meet new operational requirements; promoting stability and shared values through its partnerships; and enhancing its cooperation with other organisations.

  2. At our meeting today, we discussed political and operational aspects of NATO’s ongoing operations and missions which contribute to preserving and restoring peace, and considered developments in the Western Balkans and the Middle East. We discussed ways to make sure that NATO has access to the capabilities needed to respond to common threats and challenges, from wherever they may come. The NATO Response Force is a catalyst for focussing and promoting improvements in the Alliance’s military capabilities. We also gave direction for further work in the run-up to the NATO Summit in Riga next November, where our Heads of State and Government will take stock of the ongoing political and military transformation of the Alliance and chart the way ahead.

  3. We are committed to the continuing success of the UN-mandated, NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in all its aspects and have today agreed to move NATO’s support for peace and security in Afghanistan to a new level. We have endorsed the operational plan that allows for the continued expansion of ISAF. Provincial Reconstruction Teams are at the leading edge of NATO’s effort, supported by military forces capable of addressing security threats where ISAF operates, and reinforced by flexible, robust reserve forces, whenever the situation on the ground so requires. Pursuant to its operations plan, ISAF will:
    • Assist the Afghan Government in extending its authority;
    • Conduct stability and security operations in its area of responsibility, in coordination with Afghan national security forces;
    • Mentor and support the Afghan National Army to increase their capability and reach;
    • Support Afghan Government programmes to disarm illegally armed groups;
    • Operate and maintain security for Kabul International Airport;
    • Assist the Afghan National Police with niche training and in their interaction with the Afghan National Army;
    • Advise and support the Afghan Government on border security strategy;
    • Support Afghan Government counter-narcotics efforts; and
    • Assist with other key elements of security sector reform, in close cooperation with G-8 lead nations.

In addition to NATO’s agreed detention policy for ISAF, which is and remains consistent with international law, we welcome initiatives by Allies to assist the Afghan authorities in the implementation of international standards for the detention of prisoners.

  1. To complement our operational presence, in response to President Karzai’s request for a broad and long-term relationship with NATO, we have agreed to develop an Afghan cooperation programme in close consultation with the Afghan authorities, with the goal of agreeing key elements of it by the time of the London Conference on Afghanistan next month. The programme will concentrate on activities to support the Afghan authorities with defence reform, defence institution building and the military aspects of security sector reform, drawing upon selected Partnership for Peace instruments as well as activities tailored to meet Afghanistan's specific needs. Building on the success of the recent Parliamentary elections and the completion of the Bonn process, we will continue to provide strong support for the Afghan Government. NATO will play an active role at the London Conference, and we remain committed to working together with the Government of Afghanistan and other international organisations to help build a peaceful, stable and democratic Afghanistan.

  2. We fully support the negotiations on the future status of Kosovo led by the Special Envoy of the United Nations, Martti Ahtisaari, and call on all sides to approach these talks in a constructive manner. In parallel, Kosovo’s communities and the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government must continue progress on meeting the internationally-endorsed standards. NATO will maintain a robust military presence in Kosovo and will remain engaged politically, including through participation in the Expanded Contact Group.

  3. We welcome the adoption of the constitution and look forward to working with the new Iraqi Government after the parliamentary elections later this month. We remain united in our support for the Iraqi people and for the stability, democratic development, unity and territorial integrity of the Republic of Iraq, consistent with relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions. The recent inauguration of the Iraqi Joint Staff College at Ar- Rustamiyah, supported by NATO, is a clear demonstration of our commitment, as are the contributions of NATO member states in and outside of Iraq. The NATO Training Mission for Iraqi security forces will continue to develop, with the aim of adding training courses for non-commissioned officers and a basic officers course, within means and capabilities, in the light of needs, views and requests of the Iraqi Government.

  4. We strongly condemn terrorism, whatever its motivations or manifestations, and will fight it together as long as necessary. Our efforts to fight terrorism will continue to be conducted in conformity with international law, including the United Nations Charter and relevant international conventions and protocols. Operation Active Endeavour, NATO’s maritime surveillance and escort operation in the Mediterranean, demonstrates our resolve. We look forward to the contribution of Russia, Ukraine and Mediterranean Dialogue partners, and welcome the interest expressed by Georgia in supporting this operation. We remain open to considering offers of support by interested countries on a case-by-case basis.

  5. In response to a call by the Government of Pakistan following the October earthquake, we are providing urgent humanitarian assistance in close coordination with other international organisations, both by airlift and by activating the NATO Response Force and deploying a tailored package of elements to carry out an earthquake relief operation. We have provided logistical support to the African Union Mission in Sudan in the areas of strategic deployment and staff-capacity building, and are now implementing further requests by the African Union in the area of rotation of troops and staff-capacity building.

  6. Today’s challenges demand improved cooperation among international organisations. In all our operations and missions, we intend to continue practical cooperation with the international actors concerned. We are determined to deepen and further develop the cooperation between NATO and the United Nations and give more substance to the agreed framework of the Alliance’s strategic partnership with the European Union.

  7. Strengthening relations with partners remains an important goal for NATO. We welcome the interest by contact countries in NATO’s activities. We are determined to make the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and Partnership for Peace more effective value-based frameworks for enhancing international stability, extending interoperability and cooperation between Allies and partners, and promoting democratic values and reforms. We welcome the response by many countries to the new opportunities for closer cooperation with NATO through our Mediterranean Dialogue and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, and underline the importance of their ongoing activities. We intend to ensure that our various partnership instruments continue to help us to pursue the objectives of partnership and are pleased that partners are increasingly using these tools. We welcome the contributions to our operations by our partner and contact countries as well as by other nations.

  8. We reaffirm our determination to make full use of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) as the framework to enhance our political dialogue and practical cooperation with Russia in the spirit of the 2002 Rome Declaration. We are looking forward to the prompt ratification by Russia of the PfP Status of Forces Agreement which will allow for even more substantial cooperation between us. We note with satisfaction the successful implementation to date of the NATO-Russia Action Plan on Terrorism, as well as the progress made in several areas of practical cooperation. We welcome the launch of the NRC Pilot Project on Counter-Narcotics Training for Afghan and Central Asian Personnel.

  9. We welcome Ukraine’s recent efforts to strengthen her democratic institutions and reform her defence and security sectors. We express satisfaction at this stage with our joint discussions of these reform efforts held following the launch of the Intensified Dialogue. We encourage Ukraine to continue to contribute to regional security. We stress that further progress towards achieving Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration goals, including possible participation in the Membership Action Plan, will depend primarily on Ukraine's concrete, measurable progress in implementing key reforms and policies, as well as the conduct of free, fair elections to the Verkhovna Rada in March 2006.

  10. We remain committed to the integration of all Western Balkan countries into Euro-Atlantic structures, and welcome the positive developments in the region. These countries must continue to deepen their regional cooperation and promote good-neighbourly relations, find mutually acceptable solutions to, and reach agreements on, outstanding issues. They have to assume ownership of the reform process and build enduring multi-ethnic democracies, combat organised crime, corruption and human trafficking, and firmly establish the rule of law.

  11. We welcome the continuing defence reforms in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the support of NATO HQ Sarajevo, and the ratification of a Lines of Communication agreement with NATO in Serbia and Montenegro, which paves the way for deepening joint work on defence reform. We remain committed to our goal of welcoming both countries in our Partnership for Peace programme once they have met the established conditions. Full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) by all countries concerned remains vital, in particular bringing to justice all those indicted by the Tribunal, notably Radovan Karadžić and Ratko Mladić.

  12. We reaffirm that NATO’s door remains open to new members, emphasising that decisions on invitations to aspirants will depend on their performance. We commend the progress made by Albania, Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 1 in the Membership Action Plan. We note Croatia’s improved level of cooperation with the ICTY as noted in the recent assessment by the Chief Prosecutor of the ICTY and urge Croatia to locate, apprehend and transfer to the ICTY in The Hague the fugitive Ante Gotovina. We encourage Albania, Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to pursue the reforms necessary to progress towards NATO membership. We also encourage other Partner countries who have expressed membership aspirations to make full use of Partnership instruments.

  13. We reiterate our commitment to the CFE Treaty as a cornerstone of European security and to the early entry into force of the Adapted Treaty, which would permit accession by new States Parties. We recall that fulfilment of the remaining Istanbul commitments on the Republic of Georgia and the Republic of Moldova will create the conditions for Allies and other States Parties to move forward on ratification of the Adapted CFE Treaty. In this context, we welcome the important progress achieved by Russia and Georgia in their Joint Statement of 30 May 2005 on issues related to the withdrawal of Russian forces, and look forward to resolution of the remaining issues. However, we note with regret the lack of progress on withdrawal of Russian military forces from the Republic of Moldova and we call upon Russia to resume and complete its withdrawal as soon as possible.

  14. We remain committed to our transatlantic link. The Alliance serves as the essential forum for security consultation between Europe and North America and as the effective instrument for Allies to provide peace and stability, now and into the future. NATO’s transformation is on track. Our meeting today has set a clear course to the NATO Summit in Riga next November.
  1. Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name

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