Updated: 21-Nov-2001 Week of 10-16 March 1999

11 Mar. 1999
SHAPEX exercise

NATO Secretary General, Dr Javier Solana, delivered the opening speech to the annual Supreme Allied Commander's Europe conference, SHAPEX, which took place on 11-12 March at SHAPE, Mons. This study period was introduced by the first SACEUR, General Eisenhower, in 1952. This years theme: "A catalyst for Freedom and Stability - NATO in the 21st century" brought together political and military leaders from Alliance and Partner countries to explore the future of the organisation.

12 Mar. 1999

The Czech, Hungarian and Polish Foreign Ministers deposit their instruments of accession to the Washington Treaty at the Truman Library, Independence, Missouri in accordance with Article 14 of the North Atlantic Treaty. With this act, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland officially become members of the Alliance.

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12 Mar. 1999
Secretary General on visits to Allied countries

On 12 March, NATO Secretary General visited Portugal where he met Prime Minister Antonio Manuel de Oliveira Guterres, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jose Matos da Gama and the Minister of Defence, José Veiga Simão. He then went to the United States on 14-15 where he met President Clinton, Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, Secretary for Defense, William Cohen, National Security Adviser, Samuel Berger and Deputy Secretary of State, Strobe Talbott. Both visits were part of his tour of NATO countries before the Washington Summit in April which he will complete with an official visit to Turkey on 18 March and to the 3 new member countries next week.

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  • NATO Speeches: "Lessons learned from Bosnia" - Speech by Dr. Javier Solana, NATO Secretary General, at The Instituto De Defesa Nacional, Portugal
15 Mar. 1999
Negotiations on Kosovo

The negotiations on an Interim Peace Agreement for Kosovo resumed in Paris on 15 March. In response to an invitation from the Conference organisers, NATO has sent a delegation of civilian and military officials to provide advice to the negotiators on military implementation issues during the Conference.

NATO is encouraged that the Kosovar Albanian representatives have agreed to sign the accord, and urges the authorities from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to follow suit. It remains ready to lead a force to help implement an agreement.

However, the Alliance has followed with concern, the increasing level of violence in and around Kosovo, and the failure of both parties to comply with relevant Security Council Resolutions and other agreements, which have as their objective to create conditions conducive to finding a peaceful solution to the current crisis.

15 Mar. 1999
Environmental problems of the Caspian Sea

A NATO workshop entitled "Caspian Sea: a Quest for Environmental Security" was held in Venice, Italy, from 15-19 March. Approximately 45 experts attended the workshop which aimed to assess the relationships among the competing interests in the Caspian context. Participants gave consideration to the standpoints of different stakeholders from countries surrounding the Caspian Sea, as well as from Armenia, Georgia, Turkey, the United States and other nations involved in its regeneration.

Among the topics addressed were trans-boundary resource management, conflict prevention, legal regimes, international law governing watercourses and lakes, environmental and resource economics. The results of the workshop will be published as a volume in the NATO Science Series. For further information, consult the NATO Science Programme website.

15 Mar. 1999
Civil Emergency Planning Legislation

A NATO workshop on Civil Emergency Legislation was held in Tirana, Albania, on 15-17 March 1999. Its aim was to assist the Albanian authorities in the development of new civil protection and civil emergency legislation by sharing relevant experiences in NATO and Partner countries. The workshop was attended by experts in legislation from 15 NATO and Partner countries, as well as by Albanian officials and representatives from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

16 Mar. 1999
Three new members

On 16 March, the accession of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland was celebrated at NATO Headquarters, Brussels, with a flag-raising ceremony and a special Council meeting. The 3 countries officially became members of the Alliance on 12 March after a ceremony at the Truman Library, Independence, Missouri.

This location was chosen, as mentioned in a previous issue, to honour President Harry Truman who announced the creation of NATO 50 years ago. In a statement made just before the signing of the Washington Treaty on 4 April 1949, he said: "In this pact we hope to create a shield against aggression and the fear of aggression - a bulwark which will permit us to get on with the real business of government and society, the business of achieving a fuller and happier life for all citizens".

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