To the UK

19 Nov. 1997

"NATO Beyond Enlargement"

Remarks by the Secretary General of NATO,
Dr. Javier Solana

Members of the Council,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted to have this opportunity this evening to address you on "NATO Beyond Enlargement". I can hardly think of a better audience for this subject than the Atlantic Council of the UK. For it is here where the dedication to NATO and to Atlanticism is strongest, and where the need for building bridges to public opinion has perhaps found its most vivid expression. In explaining an ever more complex NATO agenda to a wider audience you have helped - and continue to help - making NATO what it is: history's most successful Alliance.

Your conference has been about looking ahead. I would like to use the opportunity this evening to describe to you how the Alliance is looking ahead; and how the course which NATO has charted offers the greatest possibilities for building a new security order in Europe that is at once stable, cooperative and inclusive.

What is the Alliance's contribution to this new order? Think for a moment of the Atlantic community. The ideals of living in peace with all peoples and all governments are simply yet eloquently stated in the preamble to the Washington Treaty. Democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law - these are ideals to which all Allies are dedicated. They are what has kept NATO strong and successful for almost half a century.

And in this year 1997 NATO has made a decisive contribution to achieving a new Europe, undivided, free and secure. Just think of the many historic steps we have made - the creation of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council; strengthening of the Partnership for Peace; NATO enlargement; establishment of the NATO-Russia Founding Act; signing of the NATO-Ukraine Charter; enhancement of the Mediterranean Dialogue; progress towards the reform of the NATO command structure; and implementation of the new concept of Combined Joint Task Forces for peacekeeping and crisis management.

A growing number of European nations now aspire to these ideals. They wish to join our community, to integrate with Western structures. That means, for many of them, aspiring to membership of NATO, to share the benefits of peace, stability and prosperity that we have enjoyed for half a century as members of the Alliance.

At Madrid, our Heads of State and Government decided to invite three countries - the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland - to begin accession talks with a view to joining NATO, hopefully by the time of our 50th anniversary in 1999.

This decision was only taken after very careful consideration and intense consultation among Allies. Twelve countries of Central and Eastern Europe have indicated a powerful desire to join NATO, and others may ask to join the list in future. But to succeed, it is not enough to demonstrate democratic credentials and to claim adherence to the ideals of the Alliance.

Our decision had to be more hard-headed than that to preserve NATO's core value. We are an Alliance whose success rests on its credibility - strong, effective military capabilities and a rock-solid security guarantee. Enlargement must add to our security and promote greater stability not only to the territories of the new invitees but through them to neighbouring regions. In the view of Allied Heads of State and Government, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland are the countries most able to meet at this precise moment the very real responsibilities and commitments that go along with the benefits of Alliance membership.

There is a simple strategic rationale behind the Madrid decision. By enlarging in this way, we increase NATO's strength. And by increasing NATO's strength - without sacrificing its cohesiveness - we increase the sum total of stability across Europe and thus our own security.

Let me pause here to dispel a common myth - that enlarging NATO will be hugely expensive both for current Allies and for the invitees. A number of studies over the past year have received much publicity, coming up with a wide range of figures based on a variety of threat assumptions. I want to make three points.

Firstly, we do not face today or for the foreseeable future a threat of general war of the kind we faced in the Cold War. The benchmark of our force structure remains the obligation of collective defence under Article 5, and it is this commitment that we shall be extending to new members. But there is a premium on mobility, flexibility and reinforcement, to respond to the new emphasis on crisis management and rapid deployment. Existing Allies have for some years now been reorienting their armed forces to this end. Our present judgement is that enlargement does not lead to any new requirements for current NATO members to enable the Article 5 commitment to be extended to a 19 member Alliance.

Secondly, let us be clear about what we actually mean by costs of enlargement. Each of the three invitees already has its own armed forces and infrastructure which is largely suitable to NATO's needs. Each is already making serious efforts to restructure and modernise of their armed forces. For Partners, invitees as well as current Allies, how much a country decides to spend on its defence is a matter for national decision. But modernising the armed forces to achieve interoperability with the Alliance, and integrating those armed forces into Alliance military structures will be far less expensive than doing so separately. In other words, the invitees will actually save money by joining NATO.

Third point - we need to put costs of enlargement in perspective. Leave out the costs to the invitees of modernising their armed forces - those will be incurred anyway. The force goals to which existing Allies have already committed themselves will enable rapid reinforcement in times of threat. So, where do the costs of enlargement lie? The answer is in NATO's common budgets - the costs of upgrading air defence, airfields, communications facilities, achieving interoperability, to the standard required by the Alliance. In other words, they represent the costs of joining the NATO club.

Invitees will pay their fair share of NATO's common costs - we have recently agreed with them the percentage of their contribution. We plan to put an estimate of these direct costs to Ministers next month, and do not expect me to quote a precise figure tonight! But let me say this. The costs of enlargement will be far, far less than the sort of figures we have seen quoted over the past months. Compared to current Allied defence spending of $ 440 billion a year, they will be minuscule.

Enlargement, as the Madrid Declaration made clear, is not a one-off process. NATO's doors will remain open, and we expect to extend further invitations in the future. I cannot say when that may be, but Allied Heads of State and Government will review the situation in 1999. The incentive, therefore, remains for aspiring members to continue down the road of democracy and economic reform. The possibility of NATO membership has already given many nations of Central and Eastern Europe an incentive to put to an end old quarrels, border disputes or other unresolved security-related issues. Already a number of bilateral treaties have been signed. To cite just a few: Romania-Hungary; Romania-Ukraine; Germany-Czech Republic; Hungary-Slovakia; and Poland-Ukraine. This is a truly fantastic achievement.

Nor should enlargement be seen as an end in itself. Equally importantly, we have established close working relations of cooperation and partnership with nearly every country in the Euro-Atlantic region - in order jointly to form an effective counter against instability and conflict. And we are reforming our own military structures so that we can more effectively and efficiently deal with such problems if they should arise. Through adaptation, streamlining, restructuring and reform, we are shaping the new NATO - a NATO fit for the fast-moving developments of today's world. A NATO that can really make a difference to building cooperative security in Europe.

NATO's Partnership for Peace initiative is one of the most important of our mechanisms for achieving this. PfP has fostered close and transport links of cooperation between NATO and 27 other Euro-Atlantic nations in a way never seen before. It brings us a fund of expertise that we can draw on to address the risks and challenges we are likely to face in future - whether in the area of disaster relief and humanitarian aid to peacekeeping and crisis management. Look at Bosnia. The international coalition for peace under NATO leadership could never have been so quickly and effectively deployed without the experience of cooperation gained through the Partnership for Peace.

We created in May this year another new NATO mechanism - the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council - the EAPC. The EAPC prvoides a forum to oversee and develop all of our cooperative activities with Partner countries, including an enhanced PfP, and is designed as a framework to strengthen relations of all Partners not only with NATO but also among themselves.

The EAPC is another solid step on the road to a more inclusive NATO. Through it we will see greater engagement of Partners in consultations and decision-making on a range of cooperative security activities, and an Action Plan is being developed. Allies and Partners are already exploring in the EAPC the possibilities for regional security cooperation in the Caucasus and South East Europe.

As part of our inclusive approach, we have worked closely with Ukraine to help bring this important, large - and still young - country closer to our cooperative security structures. Building on the Charter signed at the Madrid Summit, we have established a NATO-Ukraine Commission with a clear programme of work that will consolidate Ukraine's relationship with NATO.

We are also developing a new dialogue on security-related issues with several non-NATO countries of the Mediterranean littoral.

But there is one particular innovative mechanism initiated by NATO that I would like to dwell on. This is the partnership we are now building with Russia.

It is hard to conceive of a viable European security structure that does not take account of Russia and the potential contribution Russia can make to enhancing stability. We all would like to see in Russia a partner who shares our interest in trade and stability; a neighbour who pursues its policies in a confident, but transparent and peaceful manner; and a country that keeps democratic control of its armed forces and close control over the safety and security of its nuclear systems, both civilian and military.

NATO has a key role in helping to bring this about. One of the most significant breakthroughs in recent European history was the NATO-Russia Founding Act signed in May by President Yeltsin and Allied leaders. This Act constitutes a very important new instrument for engaging Russia, for providing a European-based forum in which Russia's voice will be heard on security and military-related issues. It arose from the Alliance's conviction that, today, NATO and Russia have not only an opportunity to cooperate and confront common security challenges, but a responsibility to do so.

Under the auspices of the Founding Act, we have created a Permanent Joint Council - a forum in which NATO and Russia can learn more about each other, speak to each other more regularly on a wide range of security issues, and develop strong habits of consultation and cooperation. The PJC will also oversee NATO-Russia cooperative activity in a number of fields, including military.

We have now embarked upon an ambitious programme of work with Russia, across a wide range of areas - including peacekeeping, defence-related environmental and scientific issues, civil emergency preparedness and disaster relief, defence conversion. Nor are we just tackling less controversial issues. We will be looking at hard questions that go right to the heart of security. Questions such as nuclear safety, armaments-related cooperation, and progress in implementing the Dayton Accords.

There is also a huge amount of contact - not just at the political level but, equally important, at the military. Since NATO's Foreign Ministers met with Mr Primakov in New York at the end of September, our Defence Ministers have met with Defence Minister Sergeyev in Maastricht in early October. Between now and Christmas, we will be meeting again with Ministers Primakov and Sergeyev.

Just a few weeks ago, the Russian Chief of Defence Staff, General Kvashnin, visited NATO and SHAPE and introduced the new Russian Military Representative in Brussels - Lt.General Zavarzin. This will give a permanent point of contact to allow the military to get to know each other in practical day-to-day dealings. A lot is already happening as the ground, and in this respect I would like to pay tribute to the excellent bilateral military cooperation programme the UK has developed with Russia. This has set a benchmark of excellence, particularly in the field of retraining Russian military for civilian life.

Some commentators have predicted problems for NATO because of the Founding Act. Let me say a word or two on this.

Russia has to be an integrated player, not a bystander, in the new security order that we are building in Europe. Our whole approach to Russia is based on this belief. Yes, it is true that we have made a bold step in bringing Russia closer to our Euro-Atlantic structures. But I want to underline that the North Atlantic Council retains its full autonomy. We have taken extreme care in the negotiations to protect NATO's decision-making process and the NAC's supremacy. The Founding Act makes this quite clear.

NATO will continue to be just as cohesive and just as capable of carrying out its core missions. Moreover, consider for a moment what the pay-off will be for our security and for that of other countries of Europe if we have strong, constructive relations with Russia - a Russia accustomed to cooperation and joint activities with the Allies, a Russia more stable and predictable.

In sum, NATO's commitment to an undivided, cooperative Europe is reflected across the whole range of our agenda. Our aim is clear and straightforward - to be better able to respond to security challenges in Europe as and when they arise.

Nothing is a better indicator of the way vision is already turning into reality than Bosnia. The deployment of the NATO-led Implementation Force (IFOR) in December 1995 was a true first. It represented a unique international coalition for peace, including soldiers from more than 30 countries. IFOR and its successor, SFOR, have been major feats of military planning and skill and have demonstrated in the most vivid way possible the practical benefits of our co-operation with Partners. Both IFOR and SFOR also have a much wider significance. Incorporating a sizeable Russian contribution, they have shown how NATO and Russia can work together.

But more than anything, Bosnia shows us how important the unity and solidarity of the Alliance is when it comes to managing security issues. Together, the Allies helped stop the fighting in Bosnia; together they have made the planning, deployment and mission of IFOR and SFOR a success.

But there is still more to do, and a continuing need for us to continue working closely together. We want to see a successful outcome to the enormous international effort to build an enduring peace in Bosnia. If we lose our focus, our determination, then the chances of stabilising Bosnia will be all the more difficult. Bosnia is critical to the stability of South Eastern Europe and therefore to peace and security as a whole. That is why we have to get it right.

To get it right, we need to address four main issues.

First, to those who think the Dayton Accords are doomed and that the effort to re-build a multicultural, single Bosnian state is wasted, we must be ready to point out the signs of progress. A huge amount remains to be done before a self-sustaining peace is firmly rooted in Bosnia, but signs of normality are slowly returning. Troops have been demobilised, heavy weapons destroyed, refugees are returning, people are finding jobs, infrastructure is being rebuilt.

Take Sarajevo, for example. In summer of 1995, I landed at Sarajevo airport in crossfire. I spent a night at the Holiday Inn without water, without electricity, without glass in the windows. Just getting to Sarajevo was a feat in itself that blood-soaked summer. The following year, summer 1996, it was difficult to land at Sarajevo airport, but at least we weren't shot at. By then, IFOR had brought peace and we could hold a press conference at the Holiday Inn. This year, 1997, I have visited Sarajevo on average once a month. Taking a plane there and back in a day is routine now. And, when I arrive, at eight in the morning, instead of the signs of war, there are rows of taxis waiting at the airport.

Secondly, there are some who have argued in favour of partition. In my view, partition is not a option, neither politically nor morally. Partition would violate all our principles. It would reward aggression and extremism - with potentially terrible consequences elsewhere. It would encourage those - in Bosnia and elsewhere - who consider war and civil strife as appropriate means to achieve their political ambitions. It would also waste our massive international effort to create a better future for Bosnia.

Thirdly, we must keep the pressure on all parties to comply with their Dayton commitments. It is they who bear the responsibility for making it work; their signatures are on the Accords and they have promised to implement them fully. They have an obligation to work with us; an obligation to all the many concerned non-governmental organisations and agencies who are committed to building peace in Bosnia; an obligation to defeat the hardliners and the racists; an obligation to foster human rights and the rights of minorities. And we must keep the pressure on them to deliver. Last week, I flew to Belgrade to insist that President Milosevic use his influence to force the RS presidency to comply with the Accords. The international community must continue to exert this kind of pressure on the parties to the Accords to demand compliance.

Finally, I am convinced that there continues to be a need for a robust international presence in Bosnia throughout 1998. The international community must stay engaged in its reconstruction and reconciliation efforts. And I believe that NATO has a role in supporting such efforts.

Our experience in Bosnia has taught us many lessons, most notably the continued importance and relevance of NATO in today's world. It has brought home the importance of the continued engagement of the United States and Canada in European security. But it has also shown us the importance of co-operating closely with our Partners at the practical military level.

Above all, the international community's experience in Bosnia has demonstrated the need to work together. Witness the successful co-operation between NATO and the OSCE over elections, for instance. And equally, we need to plan together, with a common and co-ordinated strategy at the military, economic and political levels to bring about peace, reconstruction and reconciliation.

Ladies and Gentleman,

In focusing my remarks on the change and innovation that is taking place within the Alliance and through the Alliance, I did not wish to create the impression that all is change and nothing is permanent.

As I said at the outset, our core values and our core function of collective defence remain rock solid. The credibility of the integrated military structure remains intact. Our military forces remain strong, effective and capable. The transatlantic link between Europe and North America stays as the bedrock of our security. NATO is as relevant today as it has ever been.

Active support for NATO has long been a cornerstone of British foreign and defence policy, and Britain has always followed up its political commitments with concrete action. Witness your country's long-standing commitment to Bosnia, where the outstanding dedication and professionalism of the British armed forces are second to none. I am proud to say that Britain remains one of NATO's staunchest supporters. Through the Alliance, Britain contributes to our shaping of the security environment of the future.

You, ladies and gentlemen, are part of all this. The need for public support of the Alliance remains crucial. As an Alliance of democratic nations, NATO draws its legitimacy from a broad public appreciation of its policies. We greatly value the work of our respective Atlantic Councils in spreading the word.

The Atlantic Council of the United Kingdom performs a crucial bridge between the public and NATO. You have mastered over the years the difficult job of explaining the nature and importance of the Alliance. Your key role will increase in the years to come, as the ratification of enlargement is debated in Allied parliaments. By keeping the issue of NATO alive in the public mind, you are helping us to achieve our vision of a united, free and secure Europe.

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