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U.S. Department of State
96/06/03 Remarks to the North Atlantic Council
Office of the Spokesman
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
As Prepared for Delivery June 3, 1996
REMARKS BY SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER
TO THE NORTH ATLANTIC COUNCIL
June 3, 1996
Let me begin by thanking and congratulating Secretary-General Solana for
the immense contributions he has already made to the Alliance in his
first six months in office. I also want to thank our German hosts, and
Foreign Minister Kinkel in particular, for their hard work in organizing
this historic Ministerial -- the first meeting of the North Atlantic
Council in a free and unified Berlin.
That we can come together in an undivided Berlin fulfills one of the
central hopes of the founders of our Alliance. And it reflects our own
aspirations for a Europe in which every nation enjoys the blessings that
the citizens of Berlin can now begin to take for granted: a free Europe
without walls of any kind.
It was here, in the shadow of the Soviet threat, that NATO played its
most visible and important role. But holding the Soviet Army at bay was
not NATO's only achievement and it was not its only purpose. Our
predecessors created NATO to be a permanent alliance that would meet
emerging threats to our security and deter new ones from arising. And
Today, for the United States, NATO remains the linchpin of our
engagement in Europe and our most effective instrument for political
cooperation and military action with our European allies. For Europe's
new democracies, which have endured so many years of subjugation and
strife, a burgeoning relationship with NATO offers new confidence in a
secure and undivided Europe. For the people of Bosnia, NATO has simply
made the difference between war and peace, life and death. Among all
Western institutions, only NATO had the strength and credibility to
bring the brutal war in their country to an end.
NATO is thriving in the post-Cold War world because we have rejected the
counsel of those who would have us abandon its fundamental strengths.
In the real world, there is no substitute for a real security alliance.
NATO is the essential and most realistic foundation upon which to build
a secure and undivided Europe. And the qualities that have made NATO
the most successful alliance in history -- its core purpose of
collective defense, its integrated command structure, and the
transatlantic link -- must and will be preserved.
At the same time, with the Soviet threat gone and freedom ascendant
throughout Europe, NATO must not stand still. In January, 1994, our
leaders set a far-reaching agenda to renew our Alliance. They called on
NATO to assume new roles and missions in support of European security
and to extend its reach to Europe's emerging democracies. They also
recognized that the Alliance should no longer be organized to meet a
threat that no longer exists, and so they decided to adapt NATO's
internal structures to meet new challenges. Since then, we have
demonstrated our resolve to realize each of these goals, and more.
NATO has established the Partnership for Peace and begun the process of
enlargement. In Bosnia, we have launched the largest operation in
NATO's history. The United States has maintained our engagement, and
our forces, in Europe -- and we reaffirmed our commitment in the most
tangible way by contributing 20,000 troops to IFOR. Our European
allies, who have provided over half of IFOR's strength, are taking on
new responsibilities. France has taken a historic step in drawing
closer to the military side of NATO.
Today, we are meeting one of the central challenges in maintaining
NATO's viability for the 21st century. We are taking a dramatic step
forward in NATO's internal adaptation. Our decisions will achieve two
vital goals: They will give NATO the flexibility to meet its new, post-
Cold War responsibilities, while preserving its fundamental mission.
They will also strengthen the European dimension within NATO, while
maintaining our unity of command and the vital transatlantic link.
Today's agreement gives NATO the means to help provide stability
throughout Europe -- to respond rapidly to crises that are likely to
happen, but which cannot now be foreseen. We are establishing a new
Policy Coordination Group for political and military issues. We are
also introducing a new command and control concept, the Combined Joint
Task Force, for missions that involve peacekeeping. It builds on the
approach that was so successful during the Persian Gulf War and will
draw from our current experience in Bosnia. It will give NATO a
permanent institutional capacity to plan, to train for, and to deploy
complex operations like IFOR. It will make it easier for members of the
Partnership for Peace to join with NATO forces when the Alliance
responds to emergencies.
Our decisions will also allow our European allies to take on even
greater responsibilities. Today, we have agreed on a process by which
we can make NATO assets available for military operations led by the
Western European Union, and we will develop European command
arrangements within the Alliance that preserve NATO's transatlantic
foundation. Under President Clinton's leadership, the United States has
strongly supported the development of a European Security and Defense
Identity in the Alliance. Indeed, President Clinton has provided
stronger support for the process of European integration than any other
post-war American president.
Now we must do the hard work that is necessary to bring these
commitments to life. I am convinced we can get the details right while
preserving NATO's fundamental strength and character.
I also want to stress that in a very real sense, our progress today was
made possible by France's decision to take part more completely in the
work of NATO. President Clinton and I warmly welcome President Chirac's
historic choice to pursue ESDI within the Alliance. France has now
rejoined the Military Committee; its Defense Minister will now once
again participate in NATO Defense Minister meetings; its soldiers are
playing a critical role under NATO command in Bosnia; and it is playing
an indispensable part in our common effort to build a new NATO in a
secure and undivided Europe. I know I speak for all my colleagues in
welcoming the steps France has taken.
It is important to remember that NATO's internal adaptation is not an
end in itself. The point is to strengthen the Alliance so that all its
members can act to make a broader transatlantic community more secure.
That is our fundamental purpose in the years to come, a purpose embodied
by our mission in Bosnia.
When we last met, we agreed that Bosnia posed a defining challenge for
NATO. As we meet today, our forces, under the leadership of General
Joulwan, Admiral Smith, General Walker and General Heinrich are deployed
for the first time outside the area of the Alliance. I want to salute
them for their immense professionalism and skill.
Our soldiers have come together as a single force to execute an
extraordinarily complex assignment. Now the armies that contested the
war are withdrawing to their barracks, their heavy weapons are being
placed in cantonment, and the land over which they fought has peacefully
changed hands. In less than six months, our troops have already
achieved what the cynics once thought impossible.
Their progress has important implications: First, though Bosnia is
still a troubled country, the prospect that its communities will again
seek to resolve their disputes by force of arms is fading. Second,
while IFOR will stay focused on its main military mission, it will now
also be in a position to expand its presence through all of Bosnia to
establish a safe and secure environment for civilian implementation.
Our troops have already supported hundreds of civil projects, including
road, rail and bridge repairs. They will also conduct more visible and
proactive patrols throughout the country. This will improve conditions
for freedom of movement and put war criminals at greater risk of
We are also establishing more hopeful conditions for the people of the
region. Croatia and Serbia have taken important steps to open roads, to
restore communications, and to normalize ties. In Bosnia, IFOR reports
that 10,000 to 15,000 people are crossing the inter-entity boundary
every day. Reconstruction is gaining momentum. Work will soon begin on
the road to Gorazde. And this summer, the United States will begin
refurbishing 2,500 homes damaged in the war. We have pledged over a
billion dollars to support reconstruction; all of us share a
responsibility to meet our pledges in full.
We have given our forces in Bosnia a precisely defined set of tasks, and
we continue to foresee that they will complete them by the end of this
year. In the meantime, we must all focus on the next critical
milestone: holding free and fair elections throughout Bosnia.
In our talks yesterday in Geneva, the three Balkan presidents joined
together to call for elections in Bosnia by September 14, the date
established at Dayton. They also agreed that an exact date should be
announced to provide a focus for the work that remains. This is a
significant agreement. It is the necessary precondition to create a
democratic government for all of Bosnia and its diverse communities.
And it will increase pressure on the parties to meet their commitments
to respect freedom of movement and a free media. As the three
Presidents made clear yesterday, "any delay in the elections will risk
widening the divisions which already exist."
I also made it very clear to the parties yesterday that indicted war
criminals must be removed from all positions of authority and turned
over to the War Crimes Tribunal. There is a growing determination in
the international community to see these commitments fulfilled.
This is a difficult process and it will remain difficult. But while the
glass is not yet full in Bosnia, it is filling. Let me assure you that
the United States is determined to stay engaged to push the parties
toward a lasting peace -- the kind of peace I believe can only be built
one step at a time.
Our mission in Bosnia is unique in another important way. The broad
coalition we have assembled takes the Partnership for Peace to new
heights. It shows us how far Europe's new democracies have come and how
much they have to contribute as our partners to European security. Our
success in Bosnia will have immensely positive implications for the
future of Europe. This gives us yet another incentive to succeed.
Today, one of NATO's greatest challenges is to help reunite this
continent, to erase forever the outdated boundaries of the Cold War. To
that end, President Clinton has advanced, and NATO has embraced, a
comprehensive strategy for European security. It includes a robust and
permanent Partnership for Peace. It includes NATO's steady, transparent
process of enlargement. It includes support for a broader and deeper
European Union and a stronger OSCE. It includes building a productive
relationship with Russia.
The Partnership for Peace continues to exceed all expectations. The
Partnership has encouraged and assisted our Partners to reform their
military and defense structures in ways that are consistent with
democratic standards. It has established the habits of cooperation that
made IFOR possible. This year, we are conducting over fifteen major
Partnership exercises, from the Black Sea coast of Romania to the green
fields of North Carolina.
Last December in Brussels, we agreed to move forward in five specific
areas to permit the Partnership for Peace and the North Atlantic
Cooperation Council to reach their potential. Although we are making
good progress in each of these areas, we must work hard to implement
these commitments in full.
First, the North Atlantic Cooperation Council should move forward to
develop standards for civilian and democratic control of defense forces.
Second, we should make the Partnership Planning and Review Process
conform more closely to NATO's internal defense planning and review
procedures so that Partner and Allied forces can work even more
effectively together in joint missions and exercises. Third, we should
give Partners greater responsibility for shaping cooperation programs
through our dialogue in the NACC and NATO senior committees. Fourth, we
should continue to encourage greater Partner participation in all stages
of planning exercises. Finally, Allies and Partners alike should
dedicate greater financial resources so that the Partnership for Peace
can meet its goals.
While we fulfill our December commitments, I propose that we consider
several other ways to strengthen the Partnership for Peace in
particular. First, Allies and Partners should apply our experience in
IFOR to future Partnership exercise, planning, and training activities.
Second, we should consider expanding the focus of the Planning and
Review Process beyond its current peacekeeping, humanitarian and search
and rescue tasks. Finally, I am pleased we have agreed to involve
Partners in CJTF planning for possible missions that do not involve
Article V security guarantees.
For every Partner, these proposals can lead to a deeper long-term
relationship with the Alliance. They will also help prepare some
Partners to share the full responsibilities and benefits of membership
Today, NATO is on track to fulfill its decision to take in new members.
We are now actively engaged in intensive consultations with interested
partners to determine what they must do, and what the Alliance must do,
to prepare for enlargement. Based on the results, we will decide on
next steps in December.
Already, the Partnership for Peace and our process of enlargement have
made what was once thought impossible in Europe appear routine. We see
that in Bosnia, where soldiers from NATO and Europe's new democracies
are cooperating effectively under a unified command. We can see it in
the steady and serious efforts so many of our Partners have made to
place their armed forces under democratic, civilian control and to bring
them up to NATO standards. We can see it in the remarkable consensus
emerging among our Partners: that they wish to join our community of
democracies for the same reasons we would never want to leave it.
Most dramatically, we can see it in the steps our Partners are taking to
overcome ancient disputes. Hungary and Slovakia have ratified a treaty
guaranteeing respect for minority rights, and we hope Hungary and
Romania will reach a similar agreement soon. Poland is reaching across
an old divide to build a security relationship with Lithuania and to
establish a joint peacekeeping battalion with Ukraine. Like NATO, our
Partners have recognized that we cannot promote any one nation's
integration at the expense of its neighbors.
Ukraine's emergence as a sovereign and prosperous democracy is
especially important to the security of Europe. That is why we value
Ukraine's participation in IFOR and the Partnership for Peace, and why
we want NATO and Ukraine to build an enhanced relationship. As we
speak, we are participating with Russia and 8 other nations in a major
military exercise in the western part of Ukraine. In a place that has
come to symbolize central Europe's tragic history of conquest and
shifting frontiers, we will help build a future in which every European
nation is secure enough to shape its destiny.
I want to commend Ukraine for reaching another historic milestone: The
last Soviet-era nuclear warheads have now been removed from its
territory under its Trilateral agreement with the United States and
Russia. That is a powerful reminder of the benefits we have already
gained from our cooperation with Ukraine and with Russia as well.
In two weeks, the world will be watching as Russia holds its first
presidential elections in the post-Soviet era. Far from fearing the
result, we should be confident that in the long run, democracy in Russia
can only benefit Europe, America and the world. Whatever Russia's
future holds in store, our interests will remain the same: to keep our
people safe and to consolidate the gains for peace and freedom made
possible by the Cold War's end. Our support for the democratic process
in Russia and our cooperation on security issues will be critical in the
months and years ahead.
Many people have doubted whether NATO and Russia could ever work
together. Our forces in Bosnia are proving them wrong every day. At
tomorrow's 16 plus 1 meeting with Foreign Minister Primakov, we will
have an opportunity to strengthen the NATO-Russia relationship further.
Russia can take an important step by providing a positive response to
NATO's proposals for a political framework that includes permanent
consultative arrangements. I also look forward to more intensive
cooperation with Russia in the Partnership for Peace.
Another positive note for our further cooperation came last week with
the resolution of the dispute over equipment levels permitted on the
north and south flanks of the CFE region. This agreement is the
culmination of two years of negotiation -- and I congratulate all who
participated in its resolution. Now our efforts to build European
security will go forward with this crucial treaty strengthened and
setting a stable foundation for us all.
At the outset, I remarked that Berlin is a fitting place from which to
advance our hopes for the future of our transatlantic community. We
should remember that in the long years of the Cold War, it was our unity
in the western half of this once divided city, and our unity in the
western half of this once divided continent, that brought us to this
hopeful point in history.
In those years, we stood together in part because our survival depended
on it. Today, we are united in a time of peace, and we are taking the
decisions we must to keep it that way for good. There should be no
doubt that NATO is here to stay as a guarantor of transatlantic security
and freedom, and that we are determined to renew our alliance for the
immense challenges to come.
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