24 Apr. 1997

"Towards and Beyond the Madrid Summit"

Remarks by the Secretary General

I thank General Joulwan for his warm introduction. As usual, he has organised a splendid programme with distinguished speakers. I am particularly pleased that so many [24] Partners are here at SHAPEX-97. It is a sign that NATO is deeply committed to opening up as many of our activities as possible to Partners.

Before I go further, I would like to express my personal appreciation for the work of General Joulwan. His retirement in July will deprive NATO and the US Army of one of our greatest assets. I will have a number of other occasions for saying farewell to him in the months ahead. But since this will be our last SHAPEX together, let me say now in this forum how pleased I am to have worked with him. He has been an outstanding SACEUR. The history books will record his contribution to peace in Bosnia and to the development of NATO in this crucial period.

I would like to say a few words this morning about the NATO Summit in July - what we need to do to make it a successful one, and what it will mean for NATO afterwards. It will be a watershed event in NATO's transformation.

This process of transformation is not new. The Alliance has been adapting for the better part of the past decade, beginning with the London Summit in 1990. There the commitment was made to turn NATO into an institution where the Allies would work together to build "new partnerships with all the nations of Europe." Allies also agreed to re-structure active forces. The goal was to have highly mobile and versatile forces, so that Allied leaders would have maximum flexibility to respond to a crisis. In addition, the future importance of a European Security and Defence Identity was recognised.

The Summits in Rome and Brussels produced decisions which took us further along the road. We had a new Strategic Concept to guide the Alliance from 1991. NATO's focus from then shifted to crisis management and a broad approach to security. In 1994 we saw the launching of Partnership for Peace and a commitment to accept new members.

In 1995, the decision to deploy a NATO-led multinational force in Bosnia was a key test, not just for the Alliance, but for the whole of the European security architecture. It raised the very pertinent question of how seriously the international community took the rhetoric of a new Europe, whole, free and at peace. It challenged NATO's own identity in the new Europe.

As you know, NATO has answered that challenge with great success and distinction. The formidable achievements of IFOR and SFOR are a testament not only to the enduring importance of an adapted alliance, but also to the courage and perseverance of the men and women of the 35 countries involved. I would like to express my gratitude to these countries, who have generously provided these wonderful soldiers. I also take this opportunity to thank the soldiers themselves, who have sacrificed much for the cause of peace. Some have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Some politicians and journalists have told me that NATO is not doing enough in Bosnia. I must admit that, being a frequent visitor to the region, and having just seen SFOR troops in action last week in Bosnia with the members of the Council, I have little sympathy for this point of view. IFOR and SFOR have done their part. They ended the war and have given peace a chance. It is up to the Parties now to seize the opportunity we have provided for reconciliation and lasting peace. To all of the soldiers of IFOR and SFOR, Europe and the rest of the international community owe you respect and gratitude.

For NATO, Bosnia demonstrated many things. Let me highlight two. First, the importance of the transatlantic link. For it was only when views on both sides of the Atlantic converged that a real solution became possible.

Secondly, Bosnia demonstrated the need to go further and complete our internal adaptation of structures and procedures including those for consulting and involving Partners.

Many of the lessons learned from IFOR and SFOR will be incorporated in military reforms agreed by the time of the Madrid Summit. The CJTF concept has already been agreed, and is being implemented. We have made good progress on the development of the European Security and Defence Identity within the Alliance. We are approaching our goal of being able to support WEU operations. And the institutional relationship between NATO and WEU has settled into a productive pattern.

With regard to NATO's external adaptation, we can also look forward to a major renovation. The opening up of NATO has been discussed so extensively that there is little I can add at the moment.

I would like to emphasise that NATO will remain open to the accession of further members in accordance with article 10 of the Washington Treaty. Also, an enlarged NATO will still have Partners, many of them, who will be working very closely with the Alliance. Even more closely than today:

  • For all Partners, there will be an enhanced Partnership for Peace.

  • There is also the initiative to give Partners a greater say and involvement in Partnership decisions through a new Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council.

  • With Russia, we are working towards agreement on a solid, enduring and effective partnership.

  • With Ukraine, we are developing a distinctive relationship.

With Madrid less than eleven weeks away, there is still a lot of hard, detailed work to do on all of these initiatives. One to which we are devoting much of our time is the agreement with Russia.

Establishing a real Partnership between NATO and Russia represents an historic opportunity to strengthen European security.

To this end, we are now working on a joint document. Much of the text has been agreed. But there are still a few remaining complex difficulties to resolve before we can sign it.

The new arrangements will allow the Russians to see for themselves that NATO is genuinely an organisation with which they can work. In this regard, I would like to warmly welcome Mr Baturin, Secretary of the Defence Council of the Russian Federation, for whom SHAPEX will provide, I hope, additional proof of NATO's intentions and potential as a permanent Partner.

By Madrid, we should have several of the processes I have mentioned agreed. The pace and magnitude of NATO's transformation has raised concern in some quarters about the effect of all these changes on the way NATO works. Some have, understandably, asked whether NATO will work after Madrid as efficiently as before Madrid. Will we have the necessary cohesion to drive the process forward?

Madrid certainly will lead to profound changes in the way the Alliance works: changes that would have been inconceivable just a few years ago. We can expect a major intensification of our internal consultations and our contacts with Partners. This applies to the North Atlantic Council, which will be meeting and consulting substantively and regularly with all our Partners. It applies also to the work of the civil and military staffs. Already, we have seen a major impact of adaptation on how we work. For example, the number of Council and other high level meetings we had last year were double the number we had in 1989 and we are currently on pace to double again the number of such meetings we had last year. The amount of work supporting and resulting from these meetings has of course grown proportionately. All with zero budget growth and zero personnel growth.

This would not be possible without the immense dedication, talent and focus of the people who work for NATO. I am extremely proud of them. They are the backbone of all that we do at NATO. Few organizations could meet the high standards of performance we demand of our staff. Let me express my profound appreciation for their hard work. But NATO is an inter-governmental organization. Nothing can be achieved without the dedication of the Permanent Representatives, the military Representatives, national Delegations, including the delegations of our Partners. Thank you for your splendid work.

I mentioned budget and manpower constraints. Let me remind everyone that the historic and vital changes we are planning will require adequate resources. NATO's transformation will not be possible without the firm political commitment of every Ally to ensure NATO has the funds and personnel necessary to turn what is now on paper into a reality. I count on all of you to use your influence and intelligence to obtain this commitment.

With this commitment, I am confident NATO can work as well after Madrid as it is working now. Why? First, NATO is planning no change which will make us less capable of acting effectively under Article 5. Maintaining Alliance effectiveness has been a central principle throughout our efforts to adapt NATO. More importantly, the result of building stronger partnerships with emerging democracies will be a more stable and peaceful Europe in which the risk of Article 5 contingencies becomes increasingly unlikely.

Secondly, because, as was shown in Bosnia, future peacekeeping operations are likely to be undertaken by varying combinations of Allies and non-Allies. We need the consultative mechanisms within NATO and close military cooperation between Allies and Partners to make joint action both possible and credible. So, in short, we are preserving the means to act under Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, significantly improving our ability to respond to a crisis, and decreasing the likelihood of future crises.

And what about NATO's own internal coherence? In my view, it will remain strong. Only an exceptionally solid and united Alliance could have contemplated and achieved the transformation we are about to achieve in the space of a few short years. What's more, with the realisation of the ESDI, I am confident France and Spain will be fully engaged in the Alliance across the whole spectrum of its activities. All European Allies will share fully the common burden of the new Alliance and assume new responsibilities towards Partners and new members.

Let me now conclude. After Madrid, we will have a NATO which has completed a long and necessary process of transformation. The new NATO will not be just about protecting its members against remote dangers. It will be at the heart of building a better and safer Europe across the board.

Within the next few years, we shall have new members extending and deepening stability to the eastern part of the continent. We shall have new, very flexible, military structures able to undertake the whole range of operations, from Article 5 to humanitarian relief or crisis intervention. And, of course, we will pursue our new mission - which I see as achieving a qualitative change in European security. Through Partnership for Peace, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, our relationship with Russia and other initiatives, we will be able to bind the whole continent together in a common resolve to prevent future wars and deal with local conflicts.

The workload - for everyone - will increase. The pay-off in terms of security will be well worth it.

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