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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 27, June 1998

NATO Defence Ministers Meetings

North Atlantic Council (NAC)

'Meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Defence Ministers Session,' Final Communiqué, NATO Press Release M-NAC-D(98)71, Brussels, 11 June 1998

"7. We welcomed the increased involvement of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland in Alliance activities since the signing of the Protocols of Accession in December of last year. Further progress has been made in preparing the three invited countries for their future responsibilities and military roles. In particular, challenging but achievable Target Force Goals have been successfully developed within NATO's defence planning system to assist the three invited countries in planning, at the national level, the further preparation of their armed forces for membership in a realistic and effective way. These Target Force Goals address NATO's priority military requirements for an effective enlarged Alliance. We also confirmed the importance of making use of PfP tools and mechanisms in preparing the invited countries for membership, through both the collective and bilateral efforts of Allies. We took note of a progress report on reinforcing the Individual Partnership Programmes of the invited countries.

8. We took note of the report on the Alliance's Medium-Term Resource Plan which includes an assessment of the resource implications of the accession of the three invited countries. The report confirms our earlier assessment that Alliance costs associated with the accession of the invited countries will be manageable and that the resources necessary to meet these costs will be provided in accordance with our agreed procedures under which each Ally bears its fair share.

9. We, as Defence Ministers, reaffirm that the door remains open to NATO membership under Article 10 of the North Atlantic Treaty and in accordance with Paragraph 8 of the Madrid Declaration. We considered a report on the intensified dialogues which have taken place so far and will continue to follow the process. ...

16. We discussed key aspects of the examination, and updating as necessary, of the Alliance's Strategic Concept, as mandated by our Heads of State and Government at their Summit meeting in Madrid in July 1997. We reaffirm the great importance we attach to this work, which is proceeding well, and look forward to a further report at our December meeting and to the endorsement of the outcome by our Heads of State and Government at the next Summit meeting. ...

20. At tomorrow's meeting of the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council [PJC] at the level of Defence Ministers we will review the further progress made toward deepening NATO's new security partnership with the Russian Federation. The implementation of the NATO-Russia Founding Act is proceeding well on the basis of the substantive work programme for 1998 (which includes work on such matters as peacekeeping, disarmament and arms control, efforts against proliferation, defence policy and strategy, and nuclear weapons issues). Important consultations on SFOR [Stabilization Force] and Kosovo have taken place in the PJC. Military-to-military cooperation is central to the achievement of transparency and confidence between NATO and Russia. ...

21. We look forward to the first meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission at the level of Defence Ministers tomorrow. The implementation of the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership between NATO and Ukraine is proceeding well. ...

25. Despite the improved overall security environment, the proliferation of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons [NBC] and their delivery means continues to be a matter of concern for the Alliance. The principal aim of the Alliance and its members is to prevent proliferation from occurring, or, should it occur, to reverse it through diplomatic means. However, we also recognize that proliferation can continue to occur despite our preventive efforts and can pose a direct military threat to Allies' populations, territory, and forces. In particular, the use or threat of use of chemical or biological weapons could be a characteristic of future operations in which Allied forces become involved. Therefore we remain committed to continue improving the Alliance defence posture against NBC weapons and to ensure that NATO's defence response is fully reflected in our strategy and plans, in order to underpin NATO's ability to perform the full range of its missions despite the presence, threat or use of NBC weapons.

26. We received a report taking stock of the wide range of achievements across the full spectrum of NATO's political and military response to NBC weapons risks since the 1994 Brussels Summit to enhance the Alliance defence posture and endorsed the report's recommendations to address areas where further work is required. In particular, we agreed to intensify our efforts to understand better proliferant intentions and doctrine; to enhance biological detection, protection and decontamination and to improve other capabilities that support deployable forces; and to explore opportunities for dealing with the implications of terrorist and coercive CBW attacks. We underscored the importance of consultations with Partners on proliferation-related defence issues. We also underscored the high priority we attach to adapting NATO's operational doctrine, plans, training and exercises to reflect more fully the risks posed especially by CBW.

27. In the light of India's and Pakistan's recent nuclear tests, which the Alliance has condemned, we urge all countries, which have not yet done so, to accede to and fully implement the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. We support the early conclusion of a verifiable and universal Fissile Material Cut Off Treaty. We are determined to achieve progress by the end of this year in the negotiation of appropriate measures, including possible verification measures, and draft proposals to strengthen the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and re-emphasize the importance of universal adherence to and full implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

28. We re-affirm the Alliance's commitment to the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe as a cornerstone of European security. The Alliance is committed to ensuring that the ongoing adaptation of this Treaty preserves its integrity and enhances its effectiveness in building confidence and security throughout Europe. During this adaptation process the full implementation of and compliance with the provisions of the current Treaty must be ensured. We will continue to encourage all States Parties to intensify their efforts with the objective of an early completion of the adaptation process, on the basis of the goals and objectives in the 'Scope and Parameters' Document and the 'Basic Elements' Decision. To this end, several Allied proposals have already been tabled in Vienna, including and most recently on the substance of the flank régime and its reconciliation with the structure of the adapted Treaty. We also call on Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus to ratify the Open Skies Treaty.

29. We stress the need for the entry into force of the START II Treaty, which will reduce Russian and United States strategic nuclear forces and is a prerequisite for further reductions through the envisaged START III Treaty. Therefore we encourage the Russian Federation to ratify START II at the earliest possible date. Furthermore, we urge Russia to honour its commitments as stated by President Yeltsin in 1992 to substantially reduce its tactical nuclear weapons.

30. We look forward to receiving a report on the ongoing work by the NATO Military Authorities to assess the impact on NATO of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction.

31. We noted a comprehensive annual report of NATO's Conference of National Armaments Directors (CNAD). ... We welcomed CNAD approval of a programme plan for a NATO layered theatre ballistic missile defence capability starting with the preparation, between 1998 and 2000, for a feasibility phase. ..."

Defence Planning Committee (DPC) & Nuclear Planning Group (NPG)

'Ministerial Meeting of the Defence Planning Committee and the Nuclear Planning Group,' Final Communiqué, NATO Press Release M-DPC/NPG-1(98)72, Brussels, 11 June 1998

"3. [W]e underlined the importance of the Alliance's military effectiveness for security and stability throughout the Euro-Atlantic area. ... As part of the regular process of reviewing our defence plans, we approved a new set of Force Goals which are designed to ensure that our collective defence arrangements continue to provide for the full range of Alliance missions. The Force Goals address requirements for collective defence and deterrence, and capabilities required for crisis management, including peace support operations. ... Within the adjusted overall forces and readiness levels which reflect the new strategic environment, the 1998 Force Goals continue to emphasise the need for deployable, readily available assets; enhanced command and control capabilities to support CJTF [Combined Joint Task Force] operations; and capabilities to deal with the risks arising from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and their means of delivery. ...

7. We received with appreciation a presentation by the US Secretary of Defense on the status of START II and planning for START III. We continue to urge the Russian government to obtain early ratification of START II.

8. We welcomed the initiation of consultations between NATO and Russia on nuclear weapons issues under the auspices of the Permanent Joint Council and look forward to a more in-depth exchange. We recalled the Russian announcements from 1991 and 1992 regarding unilateral reductions of their tactical nuclear weapons and urge Russia to bring these to completion. We call upon Russia to further review its tactical nuclear weapons stockpile with a view toward making additional significant reductions.

9. We confirmed that NATO's nuclear forces, while much reduced in size and readiness, continue to play a unique and essential role in Alliance strategy. Their fundamental purpose is political: to preserve peace and prevent coercion and any kind of war. They will continue to fulfil an essential role by ensuring uncertainty in the mind of any aggressor about the nature of the Allies' response to military aggression. They demonstrate that aggression of any kind is not a rational option."

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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