Updated: 19-Oct-2001 Week of 24 February - 2 March 1999

24 Feb. 1999

Since the Kosovo Peace Talks at Rambouillet, NATO is still monitoring the situation on the ground closely. In recent days, the Secretary General, Dr Javier Solana, has expressed his deep concern about the violence in Kosovo.

During the period until the Implementation Conference on 15th March, NATO expects the government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Kosovars to work constructively to reach a peace settlement. The Alliance remains ready to use whatever means are necessary to bring about a peaceful solution to the crisis in Kosovo and to prevent further human suffering. The Secretary General has called upon both parties to build on the considerable progress achieved at Rambouillet and to seize the opportunity to achieve a lasting peace. NATO has declared that it stands ready to help them in this endeavour.

24 Feb. 1999
The way ahead for the Mediterranean Dialogue
During a three-day seminar organised in Valencia, Spain (24-26 February) within NATO's 50th Anniversary Programme, ways to enhance the NATO Mediterranean Dialogue were discussed. Were present:
  • NATO Secretary General, Dr Javier Solana,
  • the 16 NATO Ambassadors,
  • Ambassadors from the three invited countries - the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland- and
  • representatives from the six countries currently participating in the Mediterranean Dialogue - Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia.

They put forward suggestions which would make this security dialogue, initiated in 1995, evolve from political discussions to concrete measures such as military cooperation and the establishment of NATO contact points in each participating country.

24 Feb. 1999
Official programme for accession ceremony

The official programme envisaged for the 16 March ceremony organised at NATO HQ, Brussels, to mark the accession of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland to the Alliance (12 March) has been finalised. As mentioned in last week's issue of the NATO Update, there will be a flag-raising ceremony and a special Council meeting to welcome the three new members around the table of NATO's top decision-making body for the first time.

The three Prime Ministers - Milos Zeman (Czech Republic), Viktor Orbn (Hungary) and Jerzy Buzek (Poland) - and representatives of their governments will be present to celebrate this historic moment. This is the fourth time since the organisation was created in 1949 that NATO is welcoming new members, having previously invited Greece and Turkey in 1952, Germany in 1955 and Spain in 1982.

1 Mar. 1999
Secretary General meets Belgium government

On 1 March, continuing his tour of NATO member countries and of the 3 invited countries - the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland- before the Washington Summit in April, NATO Secretary General, Dr Javier Solana, met with members of the Belgian government in Brussels. He spoke with Prime Minister, Jean-Luc Dehaene (top), Foreign Minister, Erik Derycke (centre) and Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, in charge of Energy, Jean-Pol Poncelet (bottom) about Kosovo and the agenda of the Washington Summit.

1 Mar. 1999
Activation of NATO's new military command structure

On 1 March 1999, the North Atlantic Council -NATO's highest decision-making body- approved, through a single irreversible decision, the activation requests for the headquarters of the new NATO military command structure. This historical step set the stage for the implementation of the new structure, which will comprise only 20 headquarters instead of 65. It will emphasise principles like multi-nationality, jointness and flexibility. Making best use of many innovative concepts, it will accommodate all ongoing adaptation initiatives such as the accession of new members, the European identity within the Alliance and NATO's adaptation to the changed security environment.