NATO: United to Succeed
Article by the Secretary-General of NATO
The world has changed dramatically in half a century. The Cold War is
over. Globalisation has affected all aspects of our lives. The concept
of security embraces economic, social and humanitarian issues.
NATO has changed too: the new NATO that emerged from the Washington Summit
is ready for the next millennium. In all of this our core principles remain
constant: in 1949 the founder members of NATO signed the North Atlantic
Treaty to defend democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law. These
remain directly relevant to the world of today, and proclaiming them is
not sufficient. The Kosovo crisis obliged us to take action to defend
them. This challenge is every bit as great as those we faced 50 years
ago. Our New Strategic Concept approved in Washington helps equip NATO
for such new challenges. We have a moral responsibility to act to defend
our values once the efforts of diplomacy have failed. And we are doing
so with the determination that has become our characteristic since 1949.
This has not changed. Our action in the Balkans is the latest chapter
in a long history of standing up for these principles. Principles that
will help ensure Europe enters the next millennium a peaceful and stable
The Washington Summit endorsed our continuing action in Kosovo. It showed
that the resolve of the international community is getting stronger; and
it encouraged us to intensify this action with immediate effect. We will
do so. And, more than ever, I am totally confident that we will succeed.
We have three key strengths: unity of spirit; clarity of purpose and the
Our unity of spirit could not be stronger. At the Washington Summit,
more than 40 countries stood shoulder to shoulder : not only the 19 Allies
but also our Partners with whom deepening our cooperative relations is
one of our top priorities. And the countries neighbouring Yugoslavia asked
us to follow our efforts through to the end. They do not enjoy living
next door to the policies of the Milosevic regime. We value their help
to us - both in the military and humanitarian effort. It is vital to the
success of our operation. NATO will respond to any challenges made to
them by Yugoslavia as a result of this.
Our aims remain clear. The Washington Summit wholeheartedly confirmed
NATO's continuing commitment to them. We welcome the continuing diplomatic
efforts of the international community. I am in close contact with Kofi
Annan. I also welcome the efforts of Viktor Chernomyrdin. Russia will
be central to the lasting solution in the Balkans that we are all seeking.
But let us be clear - the aims we set out on 12 April are not negotiable.
And our longer-term strategy remains the achievement of a lasting political
settlement, based on the Rambouillet agreement. After that, I look forward
to the day when we will be able to welcome a democratic Yugoslavia back
into the European family, as part of a stable Balkan region.
Our strategy is working. Day by day we are gradually degrading Milosevic's
war machine, cutting off his ability to sustain his forces in Kosovo.
The air campaign has so far made a dramatic impact: the air-defences are
weak; the airforce no longer takes to the air - many aircraft have been
destroyed; and fuel is in short supply - as most of the storage capacity
has been eliminated.
In Washington we had one simple message for Milosevic: NATO's resolve
is unshakeable. You have the power to end the campaign. Meanwhile, the
damage to your country's infrastructure, and every single casualty, is
But our military goals must not deter us from our humanitarian mission.
Indeed we are committed to helping those who have suffered as a result
of Milosevic's actions. Over 700,000 refugees have now fled the ethnic
cleansing of Kosovo. Our troops will go on working in support of the UNHCR
and other agencies in the refugee camps. 12,000 troops are helping with
the humanitarian effort in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,
5,000 are doing the same work in Albania. They have helped in the delivery
of over 3,000 tons of food, 800 tons of medical supplies and 1,500 tons
The Allies will work with the rest of the international community to
help provide the investment to rebuild Kosovo once the crisis is over:
the IMF and the G7 are among those who stand ready to offer financial
help to the countries of the region. We want to help ensure proper coordination
of aid and to help countries to respond to the effects of the crisis.
This should go hand in hand with the necessary structural reforms in the
countries affected - helped by budget support from the international community.
Our ultimate aim is to build lasting peace in the Balkans. We are already
working for this. Serbia is an integral part of that effort. It must be
at the centre of any attempt to bring stability to the region. We will
help the Serbian people recover from the situation to which Milosevic's
actions have led them. The people of Serbia are not responsible for their
present condition. The blame sits squarely on the shoulders of the Milosevic
regime. It is thanks to a decade of Milosevic and his policies that a
bankrupt Serbia is now isolated in the world. This is another tragedy
of this crisis. What right does one man have to doom a nation to this
fate? His slaughter in Kosovo is mirrored by his systematic destruction
of his own country and people.
I must stress once again to the Serbian people: our quarrel is not with
you, it is with your leader. Milosevic has brought you to economic ruin;
and has made your country an outcast in the international community. NATO
is determined to reverse that. To help achieve this we agreed in Washington
to pursue an initiative targeted at South-Eastern Europe. We are determined
to play our full part in contributing to building a secure and cooperative
relationship with and between the countries of the region.
To this end, the Alliance will establish a consultative forum to consider
security issues with the countries of the region, building on the Euro
Atlantic Partnership Council and the Partnership for Peace. This will
include full consultations between the North Atlantic Council and each
of the countries of the region; the promotion of regional cooperation;
targeted security cooperation programmes, regionally focused PfP activities
and exercises; and better targeting and coordination of Allies' and Partners'
bilateral assistance to the region.
And we welcome the efforts of the European Union, and other international
organisations, to build lasting stability in the region. In particular
we look forward to the forthcoming EU Conference on a Stability Pact for
South-Eastern Europe on 27 May 1999. Coherence and coordination between
all initiatives in the region is vital. We must all work together to achieve
our common aim.
The Washington Summit showed that NATO is ready for the next millennium.
The values we agreed in 1949 are also the values of the next millennium.
We now have a framework to move forward; and to play our part in ensuring
a safe and stable Europe for tomorrow.
In this context the Kosovo crisis is a challenge to the international
community which makes us turn words into deeds. We are determined to succeed.
Our unity and tenacity will help enable the Balkan region to play a full
part in the peaceful and stable Europe we are building for the next century.