of Austrian

16 Jan. 1997

The New NATO
and the European Security Architecture

Speech by the Secretary General

Ladies and Gentlemen,

A new European Security Architecture is taking shape before our very eyes. Through the Intergovernmental Conference the European Union is preparing for the next century - for a Union that is both wider and deeper. Within the OSCE discussions on a Security Model for the 21st are laying the ground rules for a wider security community. The adaptation of the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe is set to begin next week. And the Atlantic Alliance is preparing for a major Summit meeting in July.

Taken together, these processes will define the shape of Euro-Atlantic security beyond the end of this decade. Our goal is a Europe without the dividing lines imposed by the Cold War, an architecture wherein each country is free to take its rightful place.

Clearly, we are not there yet. Each of our major institutions has an ambitious agenda, and there is still much to do. The reason why I remain optimistic, however, is that the past few years have not only seen progress in theory, but in practice. We have seen cooperation take place between NATO and its former adversaries, including Russia. We have seen the European integration process grow without losing its momentum and attractiveness to others, and we have seen signs of a rejuvenated transatlantic partnership. Most of all, we have seen an unprecedented international effort - by nations as well as institutions - to end the Balkan war and secure lasting peace for that region.

NATO has played a considerable role in getting us to were we stand today. And there can be no doubt that NATO occupies a central place in this emerging new architecture. Indeed, at the NATO Madrid Summit in July NATO's major contribution to European security will become fully visible to even the most ardent sceptic.

First, we will invite one or more countries to start accession negotiations with the Alliance. Our goal is to be able to welcome the new members by 1999, the year we will celebrate NATO's 50th anniversary.

Second, we will develop an enhanced Partnership for Peace initiative to broaden and deepen cooperation with all our Partners, particularly in political consultations and operational planning and activities.

Third, we aim to reach agreement with Russia on arrangements that would cement a strong, stable and enduring security Partnership. In the coming months we are committed to developing this special relationship.

Fourth, the Alliance will also develop further its relations with Ukraine. The Alliance is committed to the development in coming months of a "distinctive and effective NATO-Ukraine relationship" which could also be formalized, possibly by the time of the Summit.

Fifth and finally, we will agree on a reformed command structure to improve our capability to carry out NATO's new mission of crisis management; enable all Allies to participate fully in the structure; and contribute to the building of the European Security and Defence Identity.

All these decisions and initiatives reflect the fundamentally changed nature of European security. They also reflect the fundamentally changed nature of NATO itself. Indeed, NATO has changed beyond recognition. Instead of being focused on a single mission - collective defence - NATO has turned into a motor of European security cooperation and a catalyst for political change. It has adopted a new approach to security based on the principle of cooperation with non-member countries and other institutions. Our successful cooperation in Bosnia is only the most visible sign of this new approach.

Of the many critical decisions that NATO has made in its recent history, those at the Madrid Summit will be perhaps the most crucial. That is why the ground for those decisions must be prepared thoroughly and well. The period between now and the Summit is thus going to be a very busy one. Let me explain why:

First, the opening of NATO. It is our historic obligation to respond to the new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe and reinforce the confidence in their future as open societies the sense of belonging. They deserve to be given the same chance - an Atlantic chance - that Western Europe was given after the Second World War.

The major impetus for opening up the Alliance comes from Central and Eastern Europe itself. These countries have made a very strong case for rejoining a Europe from which they were artificially separated. They want to join NATO, and other institutions. They are doing all within their power to prepare themselves. NATO's enlargement should therefore be seen in the same light as the EU's enlargement process: the natural evolution of the institutional architecture of Europe to embrace countries who are now able to freely play their own distinctive part in it.

Now, over the past few weeks I have seen a number of articles in the international press raising doubts about the desirability of the process. I do not want to take issue with each and every argument they bring forward, except to say this: they want to be part of NATO for the same reasons that member Countries don't want to leave NATO.

Moreover, the process of preparing countries for membership of the Euro-Atlantic institutions is already exerting a powerful influence on the transformation of the new European democracies. With the incentive of NATO membership clearly established, virtually all the countries interested in joining have embraced democratic reforms and moved towards market economies. So even before NATO enlargement has happened, it has been a powerful motive for the countries of Central & Eastern Europe to accelerate their reforms and settle old disputes with their neighbours. For example, countries like Hungary, Romania and Slovakia have signed agreements to resolve ancient disputes. Seeking to earn closer ties with NATO, many Partners are taking steps to affirm their future democratic orientation. I am certain, some of this would not have happened were it not for the firm commitment of the Allies to open the door to new members.

By 1999, we will have a larger NATO. But in order to ensure that the opening of NATO increases security and stability for all of Europe, not just those who join the Alliance, we will have to take into account the needs of those who do not join or who may join later. This will require NATO remaining an open organization, as it has always been. It will also require strengthening the Partnership for Peace, which will prepare Partners interested in joining NATO for the responsibilities of membership and build lasting ties to all partners.

We can achieve these objectives by building on the success of Partnership for Peace in preparing Partners to work alongside NATO forces. It is no exaggeration to say that the Partnership provides the most intensive programme of military-to-military cooperation ever conceived. There are 16 Allies and 27 other countries involved in Partnership for Peace. They come from all points of the compass and from a range of security traditions including the traditional neutral countries Sweden, Switzerland and Austria. Austria has earned itself a reputation not only for its active stance but also for its generosity in offering assistance to others.

PfP's main focus is on the kind of practical security cooperation that Europe needs most - i.e. developing the capacity to work together in crisis management, peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance. Every Partner country can decide the degree of its involvement. It is neither a political nor a military straitjacket. That is why so many countries have been attracted to PfP - as a mechanism which allows them effectively to participate in the security architecture and contribute to peacekeeping operations.

Our goal is to intensify PfP to allow our Partners to become increasingly involved with NATO, in our consultations and planning for emerging crises. In this new "PfP plus", aspiring NATO members will be able to intensify preparations for membership. For other Partners, PfP plus will provide additional reassurance that they will remain closely tied to an enlarged Alliance. As a further step in the process, we will work with Partners on the initiative to establish an Atlantic Partnership Council (APC) as an overarching framework for our cooperation. Our goal will be to strengthen the political dimension of the Partnership.

In discussing NATO external adaptation, it is important to remember that it is not an end in itself. It is a means to an end - that is, increased stability and security for all of Europe, including Russia. Indeed, a European security architecture worth its name must be one that gives the largest European state, Russia, its rightful place. The opening of NATO is therefore in no sense aimed at isolating or marginalising Russia. We know that in the long run we will not be able to achieve increased security in Europe without Russia, let alone against it.

The current NATO does not pose a threat to Russia, nor will an enlarged NATO. We have already said that we have no reason, no intention, and no plans to station nuclear weapons on the territory of new NATO members. And in the conventional weapons sphere, we are ready to talk seriously about modernising the CFE Treaty. These talks are due to start here in Vienna next week.

Many open-minded Russian observers know that NATO is not an anti-Russian Alliance. Nevertheless, negative perceptions remain and must be taken seriously. We must make a special effort to allay those fears and remove the misunderstandings that persist.

One important way of achieving this will be through an institutionalised relationship between NATO and Russia. We need an agreement that would suit our common interests and would establish a permanent mechanism of consultation and possibly joint action. I would envisage a relationship in which NATO would consult on every issue affecting their common interests, whether these relate to crisis management, arms control, or non-proliferation. In addition to having permanent diplomatic consultation we would also have mutual representation at our military headquarters. Our successful cooperation in Bosnia is a model on which to build.

You all know that the Russian response thus far remains hesitant. Misplaced fears and stereotypes of the past still prevail. The result is a paradox. Russia expresses her misgivings about the opening of NATO by keeping a distance to closer cooperation. Yet this distance is precisely what prevents her from understanding why an open Alliance is not directed against Russia.

Will there be a way out of this dilemma? Yes, I believe there will. For any sober assessment of Russia's national interest leads one to the conclusion that a privileged relationship with the new NATO serves the new Russia better then a grudging retreat into self-isolation. I am confident that this analysis will ultimately carry the day in Moscow, and that by the Summit we will have entered us into a new, durable relationship.

It is on the basis of this approach that I shall engage Russia's leaders over the weeks to come, starting next Monday in Moscow. I am personally committed to this and confident of the longer-term interest of reaching a mutually acceptable and formalised agreement between NATO and Russia. I believe that a persistent, patient and constructive approach in addressing Russian concerns will pay off in the end.

Ukraine, too, must be embraced, so that she can embrace the challenge and promise of her future. Ukraine occupies a crucial place in Europe. An independent, stable and democratic Ukraine is of strategic importance for the development of Europe as a whole. An enhanced relationship between NATO and Ukraine will help Ukraine to assume its rightful place - as a confident Partner and neighbour.

The final task for the Summit will be to put the finishing touches on NATO's new command structure. The new structures will be smaller, and will contain two important innovations. The first is the introduction of the Combined Joint Task Forces concept. This will provide the Alliance for the first time with an expressly organised capability to deploy a peacekeeping force into a crisis area. So in future crises, we will have to rely less on improvisation. Most significantly, from the outset, CJTFs are designed to operate with the participation of non-NATO countries.

The second innovation in the new structure is the growing role and responsibility of the Europeans within it. At the North Atlantic Council meeting in Berlin last June, NATO Foreign Ministers tasked the development of a visible European arrangement within the structure, which could be used for WEU-led operations. The structure will be streamlined and more flexible. Spain has decided last November to join the integrated military structure; and I hope that France will too. Within this slimmed down structure, European officers will play a proportionately greater role.

In future crises NATO will continue to be fully capable of fulfilling core missions. For any major threat to the Alliance, NATO will take the lead in responding. Yet, it is also possible that some operations, by virtue of their size or location, might be best launched by the WEU with NATO's help. We want to build that additional option - a European-led, WEU-directed operation - into our new structure.

Last June in Berlin, NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs agreed that this possibility should become reality. In so doing, they made a key step forward in developing the European Security and Defence Identity. It is evident that, for resource constraints as well as for operational reasons, we cannot afford to duplicate defence structures and mechanisms. But we cannot predict all possible contingencies, and we should not tie ourselves to one organisational response. Sharing the European security burden with the United States means that Europeans should not expect the US to lead every action or even to contribute to every operation. There may be times when a European-led force will be appropriate. That is why ESDI will be developed within the Alliance.

NATO's adaptation to the changed European landscape will also open up ways to achieve more strategic coherence with the other great motor of peace and stability on this continent: the European Union.

Separately, NATO and the EU are already shaping the European political, economic and security landscape for the good. NATO and the EU working together towards the same strategic ends, could have a decisive effect on the evolution of an outward-looking, democratic and hopefully prospering Russia; of a secure and prosperous Central and Eastern Europe; and of a peaceful, economically vibrant area of cooperation in the Mediterranean region. Both organisations have their specific function and place, yet we cannot fail to recognise that we share important strategic interests. The more we keep that reality firmly in focus and act on it, the more we both benefit.

Ladies and Gentlemen, enlargement, relations to Russia, and the new command structure - these are the three key vectors of NATO's transformation. Up to now, they have been developing in parallel. Our aim is to make them converge by the time of the Summit in July.

Let me say a final word about our peacekeeping efforts in Bosnia. The new year has marked the transition from IFOR to SFOR, the Stabilisation Force. IFOR has been absolutely essential to the peace process in Bosnia. Without IFOR, the separation of forces, the opening of roads and businesses, the gradual return of refugees, the holding of national elections and the initial steps toward establishment of common institutions would not have been possible.

The new SFOR is smaller than its predecessor, yet it remains just as committed to do its more focused job. We want to give peace a real chance to take hold. Without NATO's support, international efforts to consolidate peace will fail. SFOR is thus another vivid demonstration of NATO's crucial role for stability in Europe. It is built around the experience, expertise and military structures of the Alliance. And without the experience of cooperation gained through Partnership for peace, the preparation for IFOR and SFOR could not have been proceeded so smoothly and effectively.

These examples can be multiplied. What they show is a new dynamic, a new mentality in Europe. SFOR is the model of an undivided Europe at work; it is a model for the future.

Austria has participated in IFOR and is also on board with SFOR. Its membership in the so-called Beluga group has helped master the difficult task of coordination of transports which, to give you an example, was vital in making the elections possible. Austria is not only contributing to the creation of long-term stability for the Balkans. In being a part of this unprecedented coalition for peace, Austria is at the heart of designing a new security architecture for the whole of Europe.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the contours of a new security order for this continent are becoming visible. NATO has done much to prepare the ground. And it is with NATO's help that the different pillars of that architecture will be joined into a solid structure. I look forward to the Madrid Summit as an important step closer to our goal of a peaceful, stable and democratic Euro-Atlantic space.

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