Updated: 17-Aug-2001 1997

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Summary 1997


Contacts between NATO and Ukraine lead to the establishment at the end of May 1997 of a special "Charter for a Distinctive Partnership" through which cooperation is intensified and a NATO-Ukraine Commission is created. In the same month the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) takes the place of the former North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NAC- C) and provides a stronger basis for consultation and cooperation for the countries which become participants.

The internal and external adaptation of the Alliance are carried forward at a further Summit Meeting in Madrid, in July 1997. For the first time since the early 1980's, NATO Heads of State and Government invite three countries to begin negotiations for future membership of the Alliance. By their next Summit meeting in Washington in April 1999, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland have become members.

In the former Yugoslavia, the NATO Stabilisation Force (SFOR) has been operating since the end of 1996 to continue the work of the former Implementation Force (IFOR). Its role is to continue to implement the agreements which ended the conflict and to assist in reestablishing stability and a basis for future peaceful development.

While success in this context is encouraging, conflict between the Serbian government and the Kosovar Albanians in the South of the country force international intervention. NATO plays a central role in backing efforts to achieve a peaceful, political settlement by supporting the peace negotiations but undertaking to intervene militarily to impose a peace settlement if the conflict and the humanitarian tragedy it causes do not cease.