NATO: Defence Minister's Meeting: Secretary General's Statement, 97-12-02
DEFENCE MINISTERS' MEETING
ON 2ND DECEMBER 1997
POINTS FOR SECRETARY GENERAL'S STATEMENT TO THE PRESS
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.
* We have just finished a very successful meeting of Defence Ministers. I
am very pleased with the results. We have come together as an Alliance and
made a big step forward in three areas which have been at the core of
NATO's agenda for the past months.
* first, we have charted the way ahead on Bosnia.
* second, we have reached a landmark agreement on a new command structure.
* and third, we are moving resolutely ahead with NATO enlargement. We have
defined the cost of enlargement. We now have clear estimates agreed by all
* Let me say a few words on these topics.
* First topic, Bosnia. We reviewed the twelve-month point of SFOR's
* All Ministers underscored the outstanding job SFOR is doing, often in
arduous and demanding situations.
* As a result, the entities continue to be largely in compliance with the
military provisions of Dayton.
* SFOR has provided vital support since Sintra, to key civil implementation
issues such as the municipal and RS Assembly elections and restructuring of
the media and police.
* But we recognize that much more still has to be achieved before the peace
can be truly self-sustaining.
* Ministers support SFOR continuing at broadly its present force levels for
the rest of the mandate.
* The North Atlantic Council will consult with non-NATO contributors to
SFOR before any final decision is taken in this regard.
* We also had a wide-ranging discussion of NATO's role beyond SFOR. We had
an initial exchange of views on the possibility of a follow-on force to
consolidate the peace implementation process after June next year.
* We have tasked the North Atlantic Council to develop political-military
guidance for the NATO Military Authorities to consider a range of options
for a possible NATO follow-on force after the end of SFOR's mandate.
* This work will be taken forward in the light of the Peace Implementation
Conference in Bonn on 10th December and the meeting of Foreign Ministers in
the North Atlantic Council on 16th December.
* I should stress that no decisions have been taken today on a follow-on
force. We will need to look clearly at the mission, size and Allied
contributions, including civil implementation, and a robust police
capability, before any final decisions are made.
* On our second topic the command structure, it is my pleasure to report
that yesterday and today the Chiefs of Defence had very positive meetings.
They have reached a historic agreement on the new NATO Command Structure,
approved by all 16 Allies.
* I congratulate General Naumann and the Military Committee for their
months of hard work.
* Our new command structure will be militarily effective and functional and
will considerably streamline the number of headquarters - from 65 to 20. It
will fully support enlargement and greater involvement by Partners and will
be more cost-effective. It will also support ESDI. We will now start work
on the implementation of the new structure.
* I would like to salute the agreement between Greece and Turkey which took
place yesterday. It is a historic breakthrough overcoming differences that
go back almost forty years. It will make NATO more effective in the
Eastern Aegean, a region of key strategic significance for all Allies.
* I would also like to thank Spain and the United Kingdom for the very hard
work they have done in the last few days and hours to solve one issue that,
as you know, had a direct bearing on the new command structure. These
discussions have progressed positively. Although they continue, with
hopefully a solution very soon, all Allies today have agreed the new
* All Allies welcome France's intention to continue to be involved in the
work on the adaptation of the Alliance's structures.
* Last but not least, I warmly welcome the intention of my country Spain to
join the integrated structure of NATO in the very near future.
* On the third topic, enlargement, the accession talks have been
successfully completed and protocols of accession will be signed by the
Alliance Foreign Ministers at NATO on 16 December.
* Today we reviewed an assessment of the military capabilities of the three
* This assessment will lead to Target Force Goals for all three which we
will approve at our next meeting of Defence Ministers.
* Let me conclude with the costs of NATO enlargement - another piece of
* NATO has done very extensive work over the past few months.
* We now have agreed that the direct costs of enlargement for NATO's
common-funded budgets are estimated to be around $1.5 billion over 10 years.
* These estimates are based on a solid military analysis of minimum
military requirements carried out by our military authorities.
* They include just under $1.3 billion for infrastructure spread across a
10 year period; and annual operation and maintenance costs, rising to just
under $20 million a year by 2005;
* It has long been my view that the costs of enlargement will be
manageable. These cost estimates demonstrate that this is indeed the case.
* So this has been a truly excellent and landmark meeting for the Alliance.
* It has carried our Madrid agenda for the new NATO another significant
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