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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 33, December 1998 - January 1999

NATO Meetings

North Atlantic Council (NAC): Foreign Ministers' Meeting

'Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council held at NATO Headquarters, Brussels: Final Communiqué,' NATO Press Release M-NAC-2(98)140, 8 December 1998

"1. At our meeting today, we discussed preparations for the Alliance's next Summit meeting in Washington in April 1999. At this Summit, which will mark the 50th anniversary of the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty, we will celebrate the historic achievements of NATO as a strong, united and successful Alliance and will welcome the three invited countries - the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland - as members of the Alliance. The Summit will also provide an opportunity to define the Alliance's role for the future, including ever closer relations with Partner countries. Accordingly, we recommend to our Heads of State and Government that at the Washington Summit they set out their shared vision of the Alliance in the years ahead - an Alliance adapted, renewed and ready to meet the security challenges of the 21st century. ...

5. We reviewed the ongoing work on 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. This work must ensure that the Strategic Concept is fully consistent with the Alliance's new security environment. It should reaffirm our commitment to collective defence and the transatlantic link; take account of the challenges the Alliance now faces; and present an Alliance ready and with a full range of capabilities to enhance security and stability for countries in the Euro-Atlantic area in the 21st century, including through dialogue, cooperation and partnership and, where appropriate, non-Article 5 crisis response operations, such as that in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the possible participation of partners. We instructed the Council in Permanent Session to pursue this work vigorously so that the new text is available by the time of the Washington Summit.

6. We are pleased that the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) and an enhanced Partnership for Peace (PfP) are resulting in a stronger consultative forum and a more operational Partnership. ... We welcome the EAPC's substantial updated Action Plan for 1998 - 2000 which includes exploring new issues. In the area of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation issues, these would include arms control, political and defence efforts against proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and missiles, and arms trafficking, control of small arms transfers and means of encouraging de-mining. ...

12. We continue to consider the CFE Treaty as a cornerstone of European security. We are committed to a successful adaptation of the Treaty. We will play our full part in seeking to complete this by the time of the OSCE Istanbul Summit. To this end, we will support efforts aimed at the resolution of key outstanding issues and the start of drafting work in the first months of next year. To assist this process, the North Atlantic Council and the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland have today issued a separate statement entitled 'Adaptation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE): Restraint and Flexibility.' Pending Entry into Force of the Adapted Treaty, we regard continued strict implementation of the current Treaty and its associated documents as vital.

13. We welcome the communiqué of the five nuclear weapons states of 4 June this year affirming their commitments relating to nuclear disarmament under Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. We call on Russia to ratify the START II Treaty without delay. This would pave the way for considerable reductions of nuclear arsenals and would allow negotiations on a START III Treaty aiming at further far-reaching reductions of nuclear weapons stockpiles. We remain committed to an early entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and call upon all countries to accede to and implement the Treaty in due course. We support the early conclusion of a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty.

14. The proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) weapons and their means of delivery continues to be a matter of serious concern for the Alliance. We note the report of the Joint Committee on Proliferation regarding the activities of the Senior Political-Military Group on Proliferation and the Senior Defence Group on Proliferation. The Alliance and its members remain committed to preventing proliferation and to reversing it, should it occur, through diplomatic means. At the same time, we recognise that proliferation can pose a direct threat to the Alliance. Building on the successful work of the NATO groups on proliferation, we are prepared to expand NATO's efforts to address the evolving proliferation threat. We therefore task the Council in Permanent Session to prepare for the Washington Summit proposals for an initiative to ensure that the Alliance has the political and military capabilities to address appropriately and effectively the challenges of the proliferation of NBC weapons and their means of delivery.

15. We underline the risk to international and regional stability posed by the spread of NBC weapons. In particular, we urge all countries to accede to and fully implement the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the cornerstone of the non-proliferation regime.

16. We are determined to achieve progress on a legally binding protocol including effective verification measures to enhance compliance and promote transparency that strengthens the implementation of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. We re-emphasise the importance of universal adherence to the Chemical Weapons Convention.

17. We call on Russia, Ukraine and Belarus to ratify the Open Skies Treaty without delay. ..."

Statement on the CFE Treaty

'Adaptation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE): Restraint and Flexibility,' Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council with the Three Invited Countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland), Brussels, NATO Press Release M-NAC-D-2(98)141, 8 December 1998

"1. The CFE Treaty will continue to be a cornerstone of European security. The States Parties have an historic opportunity and responsibility to adapt this legally-binding document to meet new security realities and ensure the Treaty's long-term effectiveness.

2. We, the North Atlantic Council, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland are committed to seek early and balanced progress on all outstanding Adaptation issues. Our objective is the signature of an Adapted Treaty by Heads of State and Government at the next OSCE Summit in 1999. We call on all other States Parties to contribute actively to realizing this goal.

3. Consistent with this objective, we reaffirm our commitment to maintain only such military capabilities as are commensurate with our legitimate security needs, taking into account our obligations under international law. We have no intention of using the adaptation Negotiations to secure narrow political or military advantages. CFE Treaty Adaptation should enhance the security of all States in Europe, whether or not they are members of a political military Alliance.

4. In Vienna, we have put forward a comprehensive series of detailed proposals dealing with all aspects of adaptation. These are designed to ensure continued predictability and transparency as well as a greater degree of stability in the European military environment and a further lowering of holdings of Treaty Limited Equipment among the CFE States Parties, consistent with the requirement of conflict prevention and crisis management.

5. In the context of a suitably adapted and legally binding CFE Treaty whose provisions meet our security needs, including our requirements for flexibility, we will continue to exercise restraint in relation to the levels and deployments of our conventional armed forces in all parts of the Treaty's Area of Application. This statement sets out how we would use the proposed mechanisms of an Adapted Treaty:

  • Our military posture would reflect our common determination that, in the current and foreseeable security environment, we will carry out our collective defence and other missions by ensuring the necessary interoperability, integration, and capability for reinforcement rather than by additional permanent stationing of substantial ground or air combat forces.
  • There would be significant reductions in permitted levels of Treaty Limited Equipment for many of us.
  • Consistent with our previous proposals and in the context of comparable restraint from others in the region, many of us in and around Central Europe would not increase our Territorial Ceilings - the total levels of tanks, artillery and ACVs permitted on a permanent basis on our territories.
  • Moreover, any temporary presence of Treaty Limited Equipment on our territories would be directly governed by the relevant legally-binding provisions of the Adapted Treaty.
  • We and all our Treaty Partners would undertake broad and unprecedented transparency and predictability in our military activities.
  • We would continue to pursue opportunities for cooperative efforts, not just among ourselves but with our partners, in crisis management and conflict prevention.
  • We expect all other CFE States Parties to exercise comparable restraint, and working together as partners, to strengthen this new pattern of cooperative security in Europe as we continue our work on the complex task of adapting the CFE Treaty to better meet new security challenges.
On Ceilings and Holdings

6. An important goal of CFE Treaty Adaptation should be a significant lowering in the total amount of Treaty Limited Equipment (TLE) permitted in the Treaty's Area of Application. States Parties have already agreed to replace the bloc-to-bloc structure of the original Treaty with a new system of limitations based on National Ceilings (NCs) and Territorial Ceilings (TCs). This system will be more constraining than the Treaty's current structure of limits on the amount of equipment that may be located in large geographic zones.

7. Many of us have already indicated in Vienna the intention to accept limits on national equipment entitlements that are more restrictive than under the current Treaty. This was an early signal of the restraint with which we are determined to approach the adaptation process. Some Allies, in the context of a satisfactory Treaty package, are prepared to consider further reductions where possible.

8. The system of Territorial Ceilings itself ensures strict limits on deployments across national boundaries. Our proposals make clear that we see adjustment of Territorial Ceilings as a procedure to address long-term shifts in security needs, and not as a means to achieve tactical flexibility. Consistent with that approach we have proposed that all adjustments to Territorial Ceilings above a specified equipment level be agreed by consensus of the Treaty Parties. We reaffirm our proposed 'specific stabilising measures' which, inter alia, would require certain States Parties to set their Territorial Ceilings no higher than current maximum national levels for holdings and not revise them upward. In this context, some other nations may be prepared, in the framework of a satisfactory Treaty package, to renounce the flexibility of adjustment of ceilings, also subject to review at a specified time.

Stationing

9. On 14 March 1997 the North Atlantic Council stated that: 'In the current and foreseeable security environment, the Alliance will carry out its collective defence and other missions by ensuring the necessary interoperability, integration, and capability for reinforcement rather than by additional permanent stationing of substantial combat forces'. The governments of the 16 members of the Alliance reaffirm and the governments of the Czech Republic, the Republic of Hungary and the Republic of Poland associate themselves with this Statement, in its entirety.

10. This Statement covers ground and air combat forces. It does not relate to headquarters or other military support activities needed to meet our military requirements for reinforcement, interoperability or integration. We will provide further evidence of our intentions as to any future stationing through increased transparency with regard to our defence plans and programmes.

Treaty Mechanisms

11. The long-term nature of the Treaty, the fundamentally constraining function of the system of National and Territorial Ceilings, the existence of security uncertainties, and the difficulty of predicting the future, all make it important that States Parties can manage crises within the framework of the Adapted Treaty. The proposed System of Temporary Deployments above TCs is designed to meet this need. In fulfillment of our commitment to restraint, we will make use of the Temporary Deployment provisions of an Adapted Treaty only in a manner consistent with strengthening overall and regional stability in Europe. Any such deployment used for crisis management purposes should have a stabilising effect. Its size, structure and composition will be geared to the crisis situation underlying its immediate tasks. While reserving the right under an Adapted Treaty to use fully such flexibilities as Exceptional Temporary Deployments above and headroom below Territorial Ceilings, in order to meet future contingencies, in the current and foreseeable security environment, we do not expect circumstances requiring deployments on the Territory of any State Party in excess of the TLE levels we have proposed for Exceptional Temporary Deployments. In addition, we will seek to prevent any potentially threatening broader or concurrent build-up of conventional forces. We expect other States Parties to exercise similar restraint. To this end, we declare:

  • It is not, and will not be, our policy to use Temporary Deployment provisions for the purpose of permanent stationing of combat forces.
  • Without prejudice to the national right to use headroom under TCs, we will exercise restraint with regard to the levels of any equipment temporarily deployed. We undertake to use fully any headroom, where available, prior to any implementation of the Treaty's Temporary Deployment right to exceed TCs. This will have the effect of minimizing the actual amount of any equipment temporarily in excess of the TC.
  • Similarly, our use of Exceptional Temporary Deployment (ETD) provisions under an adapted Treaty will not be routine. In the current and foreseeable security environment, we do not envisage circumstances requiring frequent resort to ETDs. Nor do we see the concept of such deployments as directed against any specific country.
  • Because such an occurrence would be unusual, it will be accompanied by appropriate political measures, within the OSCE, through which the nature of the exceptional circumstances having given rise to any ETD might be explained. We have proposed that the Adapted Treaty include significantly enhanced opportunities for transparency and verification in connection with any such deployment.
  • We will ensure that our use of Treaty flexibilities does not result in TLE in excess of a Territorial Ceiling by more than the amount permitted for an ETD.
12. Increased transparency will be essential in providing the basis for our approach to the above issues and should provide greater opportunities to monitor compliance to match the spirit of openness prevalent in Europe today. We are also taking parallel action in Vienna to provide greater transparency concerning new or substantially improved military infrastructure and, more broadly, militarily significant activities and developments."

NAC: Defence Ministers' Meeting

'Meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Defence Ministers Session held in Brussels: Final Communiqué,' NATO Press Release M-NAC-D-2(98)152, 17 December 1998

"30. The proliferation of...NBC weapons and their means of delivery continues to be a matter of serious concern for the Alliance. In this context, the principal goal of the Alliance and its members is to prevent proliferation from occurring, or, should it occur, to reverse it through diplomatic means. We continue to attach the utmost importance to full implementation and rigorous verification of international disarmament and non-proliferation regimes which remain essential instruments in this field. We nevertheless recognise that proliferation can continue to occur despite our preventive efforts and can pose a direct threat to Allies' populations, territory, and forces. It is therefore equally important to continue to improve the Alliance's defence posture against NBC weapons by providing the necessary capabilities to our forces and adapting our doctrine, plans, training and exercises to reflect more fully the risks posed by these weapons. We are determined to prepare our forces to succeed in the full range of missions that they might have to face despite the threat of use, or actual use, of chemical or biological weapons. In this context, we are also exploring opportunities for an exchange of information and practical cooperation between Allied civilian and military authorities. Building on the successful work of the NATO groups on proliferation, we are prepared to expand NATO's efforts to address the evolving proliferation threat. We join Alliance Foreign Ministers in tasking the Council in Permanent Session to prepare for the Washington Summit proposals for an initiative to ensure that the Alliance has the political and military capabilities to address appropriately and effectively the challenges of the proliferation of NBC weapons and their means of delivery. ...

32. We continue to consider the CFE Treaty as a cornerstone of European security both today and in the future. Our overall aim is enhanced security, stability, and predictability, not only for each CFE Party but also for Europe as a whole. We are committed to a successful adaptation of the Treaty and will play our full part in seeking to complete this by the time of the OSCE Istanbul Summit. To this end, we will support efforts aimed at the resolution of key outstanding issues and the start of drafting work in the first months of next year. In this regard, we reaffirm the Alliance's proposals put forward in Vienna and we associate ourselves with the statement on CFE restraint and flexibility issued by our and the Czech, Hungarian and Polish Foreign Ministers on 8 December. Pending Entry into Force of the Adapted Treaty, we regard continued strict implementation of the current Treaty and its associated documents as vital. ..."

Defence Planning Committee (DPC) & Nuclear Planning Group (NPG): Defence Ministers' Meeting

'Ministerial meeting of the Defence Planning Committee and the Nuclear Planning Group: Final Communiqué,' NATO Press Release M-DPC/NPG-2(98)151, 17 December 1998

"9. We reaffirmed the fundamentally political role of the Alliance's nuclear forces, as described in the Strategic Concept: to preserve peace and prevent coercion and any kind of war. Nuclear forces play a unique and essential role in the Alliance strategy of war prevention. Their presence ensures uncertainty in the mind of any potential aggressor about the nature of the Allies' response to aggression. Thus, they contribute uniquely to demonstrating that aggression of any kind is not a rational option. We recognise that, in the current security environment, the circumstances in which any use of nuclear weapons might have to be contemplated are extremely remote. We confirmed that the Alliance's nuclear forces will be maintained at the minimum level sufficient to ensure achievement of Alliance political goals.

10. We received with appreciation briefings by the United States and the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom reaffirmed its commitment to maintain a robust nuclear deterrent that would continue to operate in a NATO framework for the defence of the Alliance. The United States informed us on the status of bilateral negotiations with Russia on START II. In this regard, we continue to urge the Russian Federation to ratify START II so that the benefits of that treaty may be reaped and negotiations on a START III treaty can be set in train. We valued being briefed by the United States on the safety and security of the Russian nuclear stockpile and noted with appreciation efforts undertaken by various NATO members to assist Russia in improving the storage of its nuclear weapons. We renewed our call upon Russia to bring to completion the reductions in its tactical nuclear weapons announced in 1991 and 1992, and to further review its tactical nuclear weapons stockpile with a view towards making additional significant reductions.

11. We welcomed the inclusion of nuclear weapons issues into the 1999 work programme for consultations between NATO and Russia under the auspices of the Permanent Joint Council. We look forward to a fruitful and more in-depth exchange and reiterated our conviction that such exchanges have an important role in increasing transparency and supporting the further development of mutual confidence between NATO and Russia."

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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