Updated: 06-Dec-2002 December 2002

3 Dec. 2002


Chiefs of Defence take forward Prague decisions

During their autumn meetings in Brussels, NATO Chiefs of Defence took stock of the decisions made by their Heads of State and Government at the Prague Summit on 21-22 November 2002. The meetings of the Military Committee, NATO’s highest Military Authority, took place on 3-4 December, in various formats. They focused on developments for the future, signalling a new era according to the Chairman of the Military Committee, General Harald Kujat.

A historic step was marked with the holding of the first NATO-Russia Council meeting at the level of Chiefs of Staff. They discussed the implementation of the Military Work Plan and perspectives for further practical co-operation. They also exchanged views on military aspects of current security issues in the Euro-Atlantic Area.

In the meeting with the Ukrainian Chief of Staff, Colonel General Olexander Zatynaiko, NATO Chiefs of Staff declared their support for a Work Plan drawn from the NATO-Ukraine Action Plan, adopted in Prague. There was general agreement among them to give priority to Ukraine Defence Reform and work on full interoperability of Ukraine military units used for Partnership for Peace activities and, later, for peace support operations.

A meeting was also held within the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Military Committee (EAPMC), where the Chiefs of Defence from NATO and partner countries exchanged information on current Balkan operations, NATO’s response to terrorism, and the EAPMC Work Plan for the first half of 2003. General Kujat highlighted that NATO Heads of State and Government had committed themselves in Prague to increased partner cooperation, which will take the form of Individual Partnership Action Plans, and action-oriented and subject-specific Action Plans such as the Partnership Action Plan against Terrorism.

The two-day meeting closed with a session of the nineteen member countries, at which they took on further work based on the directives given by the Heads of State and Government in Prague. With respect to the reform of the NATO Command Structure, further guidance was given with regard to finalising the details of the new structure including geographic locations of the command structure headquarters and other elements in order to enable the Defence Ministers to take a final decision in June 2003. General Kujat underlined the progress made in the development and certification of the Headquarters of Graduated Readiness of the new Force Structure. With respect to the Prague Capabilities Commitment, it was stressed that the full implementation of the commitment was of great importance. In addition, the Chiefs of Defence agreed on the specific issues that were needed to further develop a concept for the NATO Response Force. Discussions on this issue are expected to continue early next year.

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