News

USIS Washington 
File

16 December 1997

TEXT: FINAL COMMUNIQUE OF NORTH ATLANTIC COUNCIL MINISTERIAL

(NATO Foreign Ministers in Brussels December 16) (6160)



Brussels -- The foreign ministers of the 16 members of the North
Atlantic Treaty Organization met at NATO headquarters in Brussels
December 16 for a ministerial meeting of the North Atlantic Council.


The meeting produced a final communique that addresses the progress
made on the decisions taken at the Madrid Summit on NATO enlargement
as demonstrated by the signing the protocols of accession for the
Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.


The communique said that "we have endorsed politico-military guidance
for the development of options for a future NATO-led military presence
in Bosnia and Herzegovina following the end of SFOR's mandate."


The communique emphasized that the current round of accessions is only
the beginning of a process: "It includes not only the decision of our
Heads of State and Government to invite the Czech Republic, Hungary
and Poland to begin accession talks with NATO, but also the continued
openness of the Alliance to new members under Article 10 of the
Washington Treaty; broad cooperation with Partners in the EAPC [the
Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council] and the enhanced PFP [Partnership
for Peace]; a strong, stable and enduring partnership with Russia; a
distinctive Partnership with Ukraine; and an enhanced Mediterranean
dialogue."


With regard to the NATO-Russia relationship, the communique stated,
"The activities of the Permanent Joint Council will build upon the
principles of reciprocity and transparency. In opening a new era in
European security relations, we are fully committed to working
together with Russia to realize the provisions and potential of the
Founding Act."


Similarly, the communique noted the importance of NATO's relationship
with Ukraine: "We underline our firm belief that Ukraine's
sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, democratic
development, economic prosperity and its status as a non-nuclear
weapon state are key factors for security and stability in Central and
Eastern Europe and on the Continent as a whole."


The ministers also agreed in the communique, "The Mediterranean
dialogue is an important component of the Alliance's policy of
outreach and cooperation. We welcome the progress made by the
Mediterranean Cooperation Group, created at the Madrid Summit, which
has the overall responsibility for the Mediterranean dialogue under
the authority of the North Atlantic Council, and the expansion of the
dialogues with our Mediterranean Partners, including in a 16+1
format."


The communique also addressed the proliferation of weapons of mass
destruction, relations between NATO and the Western European Union
(WEU), and between NATO and the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).


Following is the text of the final communique from the December 16
ministerial meeting of the North Atlantic Council:


(Begin text)



Final Communique



Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council held at NATO
Headquarters, Brussels, on 16 December 1997


1. Our Heads of State and Government, at their Summit in Madrid on
8th-9th July, took historic decisions to transform the Alliance. We
welcome today the substantial progress made by the Alliance in putting
into practice that far-reaching vision. In particular:


-- we will sign today Protocols of Accession of the Czech Republic,
Hungary and Poland to the North Atlantic Treaty;


-- we have endorsed politico-military guidance for the development of
options for a future NATO-led military presence in Bosnia and
Herzegovina following the end of SFOR's mandate;


-- substantial progress has been achieved on the Long-Term Study and
an agreement has been reached on a new command structure as a whole,
and in particular on the type, number and location of headquarters.


Furthermore:



-- we will cooperate closely with the three invited countries through
the coming months, building on the successful accession talks this
year, and we will work for the timely ratification of the Protocols of
Accession;


-- we have completed the initial estimates of the resource
implications for accession of the three invitees, and have confirmed
that the costs will be manageable;


-- we look forward to continuing in January 1998 intensified dialogues
with those nations that aspire to NATO membership or that otherwise
wish to pursue a dialogue with NATO on membership questions;


-- we intend to realize the full potential of the Euro-Atlantic
Partnership Council (EAPC), which has opened new consultative and
cooperative channels with Partners, and of the enhanced Partnership
for Peace (PfP) through expanding the scope and range of Partnership
activities;


-- we will pursue vigorously our consultations and cooperation with
Russia under the auspices of the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council,
and look forward to the implementation of the 1998 work program;


-- we will carry forward our program of consultations and cooperation
with Ukraine under the new NATO-Ukraine Charter, and will endorse
later today with Ukraine a work plan for 1998;


-- we have carried out through our Mediterranean Cooperation Group a
new round of individual dialogues with our six Mediterranean Dialogue
Partners, and established a work program for cooperation;


-- we welcome the substantial progress in our internal adaptation and
approve the progress made in the continued successful implementation
of the Combined Joint Task Forces concept;


-- we note with satisfaction that significant progress has been made
on developing the European Security and Defense Identity (ESDI) within
the Alliance;


-- we will work constructively towards conclusion of the CFE Treaty
Adaptation negotiations as expeditiously as possible, aimed at
enhancing security and stability, and have introduced proposals to
this end.


2. Our aim is to reinforce peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic
area, based on Allied solidarity and cohesion, as reflected in our
common commitment to the core function of collective defense, and in
the maintenance of a strong transatlantic link, a new cooperative
partnership with other Euro-Atlantic nations, building a ESDI within
NATO, and the Alliance's effectiveness for the full range of its
missions.


3. With this aim in view, NATO enlargement is part of a comprehensive
process. It includes not only the decision of our Heads of State and
Government to invite the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland to begin
accession talks with NATO, but also the continued openness of the
Alliance to new members under Article 10 of the Washington Treaty;
broad cooperation with Partners in the EAPC and the enhanced PfP; a
strong, stable and enduring partnership with Russia; a distinctive
Partnership with Ukraine; and an enhanced Mediterranean dialogue.


4. We received a report by the Secretary General on the successful
conclusion of the accession talks with the Czech Republic, Hungary and
Poland. We will sign later today the Protocols to the North Atlantic
Treaty on their accession and look forward to timely ratification of
the Protocols of Accession by our respective countries in order to
allow the three invited states to accede to the North Atlantic Treaty
in time for the Alliance's 50th anniversary in April 1999. We are
convinced that the accession of the invitees will contribute to the
security and effectiveness of the Alliance. We are pleased by the
thorough and detailed preparations undertaken by the three nations for
the accession talks. We welcome the confirmation by the invited
countries of their willingness to assume the rights and obligations of
NATO membership and to meet the associated political commitments. They
have confirmed their intention to participate fully in NATO's military
structure and collective defense planning and, for the purpose of
taking part in the full range of Alliance missions, to commit the bulk
of their armed forces to the Alliance. All three fully support the
continued openness of the Alliance towards new members, in accordance
with Article 10 of the Washington Treaty as further elaborated in
Paragraph 8 of the Madrid Summit Declaration.


We will progressively involve the invited countries, to the greatest
extent possible and where appropriate, in Alliance activities, to
prepare them to undertake the responsibilities and obligations of
membership. In this regard, we welcome the proposal to develop a
cooperation program with the invited countries, using Partnership for
Peace tools and mechanisms, which is comprehensive and ensures
transparency between multilateral and bilateral assistance programs.


5. As reaffirmed by our Heads of State and Government at the Madrid
Summit, admitting new members will entail resource implications for
the Alliance. We took note of a report on the resource implications of
the accession of the three invited states, with particular emphasis on
common-funded budgets. It provides an initial assessment of those
costs which would be eligible for common funding, amounting to the
equivalent of about 1.5 billion US dollars over a period of 10 years,
of which 1.3 billion US dollars would be for the NATO Security
Investment Program.


Overall, the analysis of the resource implications of the accession of
the three new members has justified the confidence of our Heads of
State and Government that, in the present and foreseeable security
environment in Europe, Alliance costs associated with the accession of
the three invitees will be manageable, and that the resources
necessary to meet these costs will be provided. The analysis also
concludes that the available and planned military forces and the
capabilities of the current Allies and the three invitees are
sufficient to ensure fully the collective defense of all members of
the enlarged Alliance in the present and foreseeable security
environment. We note with satisfaction that the Czech Republic,
Hungary and Poland will also make valuable contributions to the
Alliance's ability to perform the full range of its missions. The
newly acceding countries will assume all rights and obligations of
membership and are ready to shoulder the resulting burdens. They plan
to increase significantly their defense spending and to contribute
appropriately to the Alliance's common-funded budgets.


6. We remain committed to the ongoing process of enlargement in the
terms set out in Paragraph 8 of the Madrid Summit Declaration, in
which our Heads of State and Government clearly reaffirmed NATO's open
door to new members under Article 10 of the North Atlantic Treaty, and
we welcome the valuable efforts by countries which are aspiring
members. To that end, we are maintaining our active cooperation with
those nations that have expressed their interest in NATO membership as
well as those who may seek membership in the future. We will further
encourage their active participation in the Euro-Atlantic Partnership
Council and the Partnership for Peace. We will also continue our
intensified dialogues with those nations that aspire to NATO
membership or otherwise wish to pursue a dialogue on membership
questions. In this context we have adopted modalities for the
continuation of the intensified dialogues. These dialogues, which have
already begun, will cover the full range of political, military,
financial and security issues relating to possible NATO membership,
without prejudice to any eventual decision. We will keep that process
under continual review, looking forward to the review of the
enlargement process which will take place at the meeting of our Heads
of State and Government in 1999. We direct the Council in Permanent
Session to report to us at our Spring Session on the intensified
dialogues.


7. Decisions taken at the Madrid Summit and the Sintra Ministerials
earlier this year created the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC)
as the overarching framework for expanding the political and security
dimensions of our partnership and practical cooperation under the
Partnership for Peace. We look forward to tomorrow's meeting with our
EAPC counterparts. The EAPC will deepen and focus political and
security-related consultations and cooperation, and increase
transparency among its 44 member states. For our part, we will
continue developing the EAPC as an action-oriented forum with
practical, cooperative tasks on its agenda. To this end, we look
forward to endorsing with our Partners the EAPC Action Plan for
1998-2000.


8. We are pleased with the progress of implementation of the EAPC
Basic Document since its adoption in Sintra last May. We welcome the
deepening consultations on political and security-related issues,
including those in a limited format between the Alliance and
open-ended groups of Partners to focus on functional matters or, on an
ad hoc basis, on appropriate regional matters. We also note with
satisfaction the growing number of cooperative activities under the
auspices of the EAPC, which is based on the principles of
inclusiveness and self-differentiation, including in the fields of
defense economic issues, science, defense-related environmental
issues, cooperation in peacekeeping, and civil emergency preparedness.
We welcome the establishment by a growing number of Partners of
diplomatic missions to NATO under the Brussels Agreement.


9. The Partnership for Peace continues to be the focal point of our
efforts to build with Partners new patterns of practical cooperation
across a wide range of security issues. We are pleased with the
progress made since our Sintra meeting last May. We welcome the
decisions to establish PfP Staff Elements at the strategic and
regional levels of NATO's military command structure and note that
Defense Ministers have mandated a report for May 1998 on the
possibility of establishing them also at the sub-regional level. We
also welcome proposals for the further development of the Planning and
Review Process and the establishment of international military posts
for Partners at the Partnership Coordination Cell. We note with
satisfaction the identification of the first PfP projects to be
supported under the NATO Security Investment Program and the start of
work with Partners on the development of a political-military
framework for NATO-led PfP operations. We invite all Partner countries
to take full advantage of the new possibilities to draw closer to the
Alliance through the enhanced PfP.


We look forward to endorsing with our Partners at tomorrow's EAPC
meeting the concept to establish a Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response
Coordination Centre and a Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Unit.


We task the Council in Permanent Session to increase further the
effectiveness of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and the
enhanced Partnership for Peace, in cooperation with Partners, and to
report to us at our next meeting.


10. The Partnership for Peace has shown its value in contributing to
stability in Europe through the special assistance the Alliance is
continuing to provide to Albania, in the context of PfP and drawing on
the experience of the Italian-led Multinational Protection Force, in
the rebuilding of its national armed forces following the crisis in
that country in early 1997. We welcome the voluntary contributions of
nations to Albania.


11. The signature in Paris last May of the NATO-Russia Founding Act
marked the beginning of a fundamentally new relationship between NATO
and Russia. We are pleased that consultations in the Permanent Joint
Council, created by the Founding Act, are developing into practical
cooperation, on the basis of the 1997 work program which we adopted
with Minister Primakov at the first PJC Ministerial meeting last
September. Since then, NATO and Russia have made significant progress
towards establishing the deeper relationship envisioned in the
Founding Act. NATO and Russia have consulted together on many of the
issues central to security in the Euro-Atlantic area, including the
situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and ongoing implementation of the
Peace Accords, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and
conduct of peacekeeping operations. We are encouraged by the progress
made in the working groups on civil emergency planning, peacekeeping,
and defense conversion. We welcome the commitment shown by Russia to
the broad range of cooperative activities, including the development
of an active Individual Partnership Program in the context of PfP and
the appointment of a Russian military representative at NATO
Headquarters. This will open a new chapter in NATO-Russia
defense-related and military-to-military cooperation.


We therefore look forward tomorrow to our second meeting with the
Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation in the framework of the
Permanent Joint Council. At that meeting, we expect to adopt a
substantive work program for 1998 that will further deepen our
cooperation and strengthen mutual trust. We look forward in particular
to enhancing NATO's information efforts in Russia, and we expect to
open a NATO Documentation Centre in Moscow, as foreseen in the
Founding Act, by 31st January 1998. The timely establishment of
military liaison missions at various levels, as foreseen in the
Founding Act, will usefully support its objectives. We encourage
Russia to play an active role in the EAPC and the enhanced PfP.


The activities of the Permanent Joint Council will build upon the
principles of reciprocity and transparency. In opening a new era in
European security relations, we are fully committed to working
together with Russia to realize the provisions and potential of the
Founding Act.


12. The Charter on a Distinctive Partnership between NATO and Ukraine,
signed at the Madrid Summit by Allied Heads of State and Government
and President Kuchma, underscores the Alliance's view that Ukraine has
a key role to play in European security. We underline our firm belief
that Ukraine's sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity,
democratic development, economic prosperity and its status as a
non-nuclear weapon state are key factors for security and stability in
Central and Eastern Europe and on the continent as a whole.


We are committed to launching a rich and varied program of
consultation and practical cooperation with Ukraine. We welcome the
substantial progress already made in this regard since the conclusion
of the NATO-Ukraine Charter, on the basis of initial elements agreed
by the NATO-Ukraine Commission on 10th October 1997. We look forward
to the implementation of the NATO-Ukraine work plan for 1998, which
we, together with Ukraine's Foreign Minister Udovenko, will endorse
later today when the NATO-Ukraine Commission meets for the first time
at Ministerial level. We also look forward on this occasion to the
signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Civil Emergency Planning
and Disaster Preparedness between NATO and Ukraine. We will continue
to support an active information effort in Ukraine through the NATO
Information and Documentation Centre in Kyiv.


We also welcome Ukraine's intention to play an active role within the
Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and the enhanced PfP. We are working
with Ukraine on the development of a more focussed Individual
Partnership Program. We are pleased with the initial steps we have
taken with Ukraine to implement this new partnership. We look forward
to further progress in 1998 and beyond.


13. We continue to give great attention to the Mediterranean region
since security in the whole of Europe is closely linked with security
and stability in the Mediterranean. NATO's Mediterranean dialogue has
continued to develop progressively, and thus contributes to enhancing
security and stability in the Mediterranean region. The Mediterranean
dialogue is an important component of the Alliance's policy of
outreach and cooperation. We welcome the progress made by the
Mediterranean Cooperation Group, created at the Madrid Summit, which
has the overall responsibility for the Mediterranean dialogue under
the authority of the North Atlantic Council, and the expansion of the
dialogues with our Mediterranean Partners, including in a 16+1 format.
We also welcome the establishment of an appropriately funded work
program for cooperation activities, which will help in building
confidence through cooperation on security-related issues, and we task
the Council in Permanent Session to provide a progress report next
year on its implementation.


14. We attach great importance to an early and successful completion
of the process of the Alliance's internal adaptation, on the basis of
decisions taken in Berlin and Brussels in 1996 and subsequently. The
fundamental objectives of this adaptation are to maintain the
Alliance's military effectiveness for the full range of its missions
including collective defense and its ability to react to a wide range
of contingencies, to preserve the transatlantic link, and to develop
the European Security and Defense Identity within the Alliance.


We received a comprehensive report describing the progress made since
the Madrid Summit in the three main areas: the development of the
Alliance's future command structure; the implementation of the
Combined Joint Task Forces concept; and the building of the European
Security and Defense Identity within the Alliance.


Substantial progress has been achieved on the Long-Term Study and an
agreement has been reached on a new command structure as a whole, and
in particular on the type, number and location of headquarters. The
structure will comprise two Strategic Commands (SC), one for the
Atlantic and one for Europe. SC Atlantic will comprise three Regional
Commands (RC), RC West (Norfolk), RC East (Northwood) and RC Southeast
(Lisbon) as well as STRIKFLTLANT and SUBACLANT, both based at Norfolk.
In SC Europe, two RCs are foreseen - RC North(Brunssum) and RC South
(Naples). Two component commands (CC) - CC Air (Ramstein) and CC Nav
(Northwood) - will report to RC North together with three Joint
Sub-Regional Commands (JSRC) - JSRC Centre (Heidelberg), JSRC
Northeast (Karup) and JSRC North (Stavanger). RC South will command
two CCs - CC Air and CC Nav (both at Naples) - and four JSRCs - JSRC
Southeast (Izmir), JSRC Southcentre (Larissa), JSRC South (Verona) and
JSRC Southwest (Madrid). Taken together, this will represent a
reduction from 65 headquarters at present to 20 in the proposed new
command structure. The NATO Military Authorities have been tasked to
develop a detailed plan, as proposed by the Military Committee, for
the transition to the new command structure, for consideration and
endorsement by Ministers next year.


Allies welcome Spain's announcement of its intention to join the
Alliance's new military structure and thus to take part in the new
command structure on which an agreement has been reached in the terms
stated above. Spain's full participation will enhance its overall
contribution to the security of the Alliance, help develop the
European Security and Defense Identity within NATO and strengthen the
transatlantic link.


Implementation of the CJTF concept will enhance the Alliance's ability
to plan and conduct quickly and effectively a wide range of military
operations employing multinational and multi-service forces capable of
being generated and deployed at short notice. We are pleased with the
progress made in implementing the CJTF concept, noting that an initial
trial has already successfully been conducted.


We note with satisfaction that work on building the ESDI within the
Alliance is progressing in close cooperation with the WEU. Important
work has been carried out on European command arrangements; on
consultation and information-sharing; the development of mechanisms
for the identification, release, monitoring and return or recall of
NATO assets and capabilities made available for WEU-led operations; on
the planning and conduct of WEU-led operations involving the use of
such assets and capabilities; the modalities for the WEU's involvement
in NATO defense planning; and military planning and exercises for
illustrative WEU missions.


We welcome the steady strengthening of cooperative relations between
NATO and the WEU, and the successful, ongoing consultation between our
two organizations under the aegis of the NATO-WEU Joint Council. We
will continue to develop the arrangements and procedures necessary for
the planning, preparation, conduct and exercise of WEU-led operations
using NATO assets and capabilities. In this context, we welcome the
WEU's readiness to consult on and coordinate all ESDI-related work at
the earliest possible stage, including through greater use of joint
working groups and through the possibility of setting up ad hoc expert
working groups on specific topics. In addition we welcome the
decisions of the WEU Council of Ministers at Erfurt to improve the
WEU's operational capability in relation to crisis management and
peacekeeping operations (the Petersberg tasks). We also welcome the
results of the WEU Ministerial Council in Erfurt that aim at enhanced
forms of cooperation between WEU and NATO, supporting the process of
translating the political directives formulated by the respective
Ministerial Councils into practical links between both organizations
leading in particular to arrangements for WEU-led operations making
use of Alliance assets and capabilities.


We task the Council in Permanent Session to pursue further work, as
required, on internal adaptation and to report to us at our next
meeting.


15. The Alliance Strategic Concept, adopted by our Heads of State and
Government in Rome in 1991, sets out the principal aims and objectives
of the Alliance. As Foreign Ministers, we attach particular importance
to the far-reaching, positive political developments which have
occurred since 1991 in the security landscape in Europe and to new
cooperative security structures which are being built throughout the
Euro-Atlantic region. We therefore endorse the terms of reference
agreed by the Council in Permanent Session for the examination, and
updating as necessary, of the Alliance Strategic Concept, as mandated
by our Heads of State and Government in Madrid. This work will confirm
our commitment to the core function of Alliance collective defense and
the indispensable transatlantic link. We look forward to receiving a
progress report at our next meeting on the substantive work, which
will begin early in 1998 for presentation to Heads of State and
Government at their next Summit meeting in April 1999.


16. We reaffirm our commitment to further strengthening the OSCE as a
primary instrument for early warning, conflict prevention, crisis
management and post-conflict rehabilitation as well as for enhancing
cooperative security and advancing democracy and human rights.
Examples of the important role the OSCE plays as a regional
arrangement under Chapter VIII of the UN Charter are its tasks as a
flexible coordinating framework for international assistance in
Albania, the mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the efforts of the
Minsk Group, and the mission in Croatia which will acquire particular
importance in 1998 after the termination of the UNTAES mandate. We are
committed to supporting the OSCE's comprehensive approach to security
and its work on a Common and Comprehensive Security Model for Europe
for the Twenty-First Century, in accordance with the decisions of the
1996 Lisbon Summit, including consideration of developing a Charter on
European Security. We welcome the initiative of the Chairman-in-Office
to strengthen non-hierarchical cooperation between security
institutions which accept and adhere to the principles and commitments
contained in the relevant OSCE documents. In this regard, we recall
the precepts set out in the Lisbon Document that security
organizations as such are transparent and predictable in their
actions, whose members individually and collectively adhere to OSCE
principles and commitments, and whose membership is based on open and
voluntary commitments. We look forward to a productive and successful
OSCE Ministerial meeting in Copenhagen later this week.


17. NATO remains committed to the full and unconditional
implementation of the Peace Agreement in Bosnia and Herzegovina and to
the establishment of that country as a single, democratic and
multi-ethnic state. We welcome the progress achieved in many areas,
including the conduct of elections, the reduction of armaments and the
reform and restructuring of police. In addition, many refugees have
returned. However, much more could have been achieved had the
authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina contributed their full share.
Peace, and the institutions of civil society to uphold it, remain
fragile.


Accordingly, we strongly endorse the conclusions of last week's Peace
Implementation Conference (PIC) in Bonn that are intended to achieve
further progress in consolidating the peace. We support the High
Representative's intention to facilitate implementation of the Peace
Agreement by using his authority fully to promote the resolution of
difficulties through binding decisions, as he judges necessary, on the
issues identified by the Peace Implementation Council. In this
context, we also consider it important to achieve early progress on
such basic matters as the building of common institutions, the
creation of a common currency and common symbols, and the
establishment of a uniform vehicle registration system. We confirm
that our countries will continue to support those who support
implementation of the Peace Agreement, and to oppose those who seek to
obstruct the peace process.


NATO contributes to consolidating the peace by organizing and leading
a Stabilization Force (SFOR) with the participation of all 16 Allies
and 20 non-NATO countries, including Russia and 14 other Partners. At
our meeting today, we reviewed the SFOR operation twelve months into
its eighteen-month mission. Following consultations last week with the
non-NATO contributors, we confirmed that SFOR would continue at its
present force levels, subject to prudent adjustments, until otherwise
directed. This will allow SFOR to continue its firm and even-handed
approach to implementing its mandate and supporting civil
implementation. We extend our deep-felt appreciation to the men and
women of SFOR for their essential contribution. We express deep
sympathy to the families of those who have lost their lives and to
those who have been injured in the cause of peace.


To succeed, the Peace Agreement must continue to be implemented in an
environment of general security. The PIC recognized and supported the
emerging consensus on the need for a military presence to continue
beyond June 1998. It was the PIC's judgment that such a force should
provide appropriate support to civil implementation while being
readily available and effective enough to respond quickly to events on
the ground in and across Bosnia and Herzegovina. With this in mind, we
have endorsed politico-military guidance to the NATO Military
Authorities for the development of options for a NATO-led military
presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina following the end of SFOR's
mandate. NATO Military Authorities will provide these options to the
Council in Permanent Session no later than mid-January 1998 to allow
for the early selection of an option, following consultations with
non-NATO contributors and a careful assessment of the likely security
situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina after SFOR's mandate expires in
June 1998.


We welcome the continuing development of the confidence- and
security-building measures under Article II of Annex IB of the Peace
Agreement and the successful completion of declared reduction
liabilities under Article IV of Annex IB. We congratulate the parties
on the reduction of almost 6,600 pieces of armament. We underline the
importance of starting the Article V process without delay to build on
the achievements reached under Article II and IV. Steps in this
context should not prejudice the integrity of existing arms control
and CSBM agreements. A broad security dialogue would represent a
significant element in establishing regional stability. Securing the
peace over the long term will also require further steps to promote
confidence and cooperation among the armed forces of Bosnia and
Herzegovina and to encourage the development of democratic practices
and central defense mechanisms such as the Standing Committee on
Military Matters (SCMM). NATO is organizing courses for military and
civilian defense officials of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the NATO
School to promote reconciliation among the formerly warring factions.
We have also decided to launch an initial set of security cooperation
activities with Bosnia and Herzegovina to include both Entities and
all three ethnic groups. These activities, to be coordinated through
the SCMM, will include additional courses, seminars and an assessment
of how NATO can assist the SCMM in becoming fully effective.


While NATO will do its part to consolidate the peace, ultimately this
responsibility rests with the democratically elected officials of
Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as with the other Parties to the Peace
Agreement. We will continue to insist that the Parties to the Peace
Agreement comply fully with their commitments, including the transfer
of indicted war criminals to The Hague. The results of last month's
elections in Republika Srpska show encouraging signs of emerging
genuine multi-party politics, which are essential for a strong
democracy. We look forward to the early establishment of a new
government committed to implementing the Peace Agreement and thereby
allowing the people in that part of Bosnia and Herzegovina to benefit
more fully from the peace.


We confirm that NATO's interest in stability extends beyond Bosnia and
Herzegovina to the surrounding region. We share the concerns expressed
at the PIC concerning the escalating ethnic tension in Kosovo and
other areas. We call upon those concerned to refrain from activities
that might exacerbate existing difficulties and to strive for mutually
acceptable solutions through responsible dialogue.


18. We share the commitment of all 30 States Parties to continued full
implementation of the CFE Treaty, and its associated documents,
including the Flank Agreement. We are determined that the adaptation
of CFE will strengthen the Treaty's continued key role in the European
security architecture and as a cornerstone of European stability and
security.


The agreement reached in July 1997 on the Basic Elements of CFE Treaty
Adaptation was an important step in the adaptation process. We note
with appreciation the substantial progress achieved by the Alliance's
High Level Task Force in elaborating the Alliance position on the
operation of the future Treaty's system of limitations, appropriate
flexibilities and consultative mechanisms, with the aim of enhancing
security and stability in Europe. Introduction of Allies' illustrative
Territorial Ceilings, together with their underlying rationale, in the
Vienna negotiation is a further indication of the importance we attach
to progress on CFE adaptation and our determination to work
cooperatively with other Treaty Partners. We will work as
expeditiously as possible towards the conclusion of the adaptation
negotiation as foreseen in the timetable agreed in Lisbon on 1st
December 1996. We call on other CFE States Parties to engage actively
in the negotiations, including by putting forward proposed equipment
ceilings under the adapted Treaty, considering reductions in their
entitlements as NATO Allies have already done. We hope that these
common efforts will enhance the climate of cooperation and confidence.


19. The proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC)
weapons and their means of delivery poses risks to the Alliance. The
principal non-proliferation goal of the Alliance and its members is to
prevent proliferation from occurring, or, should it occur, to reverse
it through diplomatic means. We note the report of the Joint Committee
on Proliferation regarding the activities of the Senior
Political-Military Group on Proliferation and the Senior Defense Group
on Proliferation.


The Alliance shares with its Partners many of the risks arising from
the proliferation of NBC weapons. We will therefore pursue a dialogue
on this issue in the framework of EAPC and with Russia and Ukraine,
with the aim of enhancing our cooperation in countering these risks.


20. We note with satisfaction that implementation of the Chemical
Weapons Convention is proceeding well, and that the number of
countries ratifying this important agreement continues to grow. We
particularly welcome the CWC ratification by the Russian Federation in
early November. We urge all states that have not yet signed and
ratified the Convention to do so, and call upon those that have
ratified to carry out fully their obligations under the Convention.


We continue to endorse efforts to negotiate an effective verification
regime to strengthen the implementation of the Biological and Toxin
Weapons Convention.


We support early entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban
Treaty, and an early start to negotiations on a Fissile Material
Cut-Off Treaty.


We continue to urge the Russian Federation to ratify the START II
Treaty as soon as possible, so that negotiations on START III can
begin. In this context, we welcome the agreements signed by Secretary
Albright and Foreign Minister Primakov on 26th September 1997 to
enhance the prospects for Russia's ratification of START II. We urge
Russia to honor its commitments as stated by President Yeltsin in 1992
to substantially reduce its tactical nuclear weapons stockpile.


We attach great importance to the Treaty on Open Skies and urge the
Russian Federation, Belarus and Ukraine to take the necessary steps to
permit its entry into force. We welcome the signing in Ottawa on 3rd
and 4th December, 1997 of the Convention on the prohibition of the
use, production, stockpiling and transfer of anti-personnel landmines
and on their destruction. The impact of this agreement on NATO will be
fully assessed in the months ahead. We will take the necessary action
to ensure that national obligations under the Convention are
compatible with our obligations under the North Atlantic Treaty. We
welcome the efforts pursued in the Conference on Disarmament and in
other fora on the issue of anti-personnel mines and urge the
Conference to intensify its efforts to achieve progress on the issue.


21. We recognize the achievements of the NATO Science Program in
fostering transatlantic exchanges and intra-Alliance cohesion. We
welcome ongoing efforts to adjust the Program to NATO's new structures
and tasks.


22. We strongly condemn all acts of terrorism. We will continue to
support all efforts to combat terrorism, including using arrangements
in the Alliance for consultation on threats of a wider nature that
affect Alliance security interests. In accordance with our national
legislation, we stress the need for the most effective cooperation
possible to prevent and suppress this scourge.


23. We accepted with pleasure an invitation from the United States to
host the meeting of Allied Heads of State and Government in Washington
in Spring 1999, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the North
Atlantic Treaty.


24. The Spring 1998 meeting of the North Atlantic Council in
Ministerial Session will be held in Luxembourg, on 28th May 1998.


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