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U.S. Department of State

Great Seal Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Statement at the Permanent Joint Council Ministerial
Brussels, Belgium, December 9, 1998
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
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(As Prepared for Delivery)

Mr. Secretary General, Foreign Minister Ivanov, Foreign Minister Pangalos and fellow Ministers, I am delighted to participate in this important Council meeting.

And I am very pleased to welcome Foreign Minister Ivanov to this forum. He is a worthy successor to his distinguished predecessor, and I look forward to a serious and productive session.

I want to begin by applauding the efforts of the Permanent Joint Council and the progress that has been made in fleshing out provisions of the Founding Act.

Agenda items mentioned in the 1999 Workplan clearly demonstrate the forward strides we have taken. Much of what the PJC does doesn't make headlines or get a CNN special report. But it is vital to shaping the future of the NATO-Russia relationship which is, in turn, vital to our shared security.

Next April, the Alliance and its partners will meet in Washington. Our purpose will be to make sure that NATO is equipped to make a maximum contribution to peace and democracy throughout the Euro-Atlantic region.

One of the ways NATO will do that is by ensuring that members of the Alliance work as closely as possible with our partners, including Russia, in addressing mutual concerns.

We invite Russia to strive with us to achieve this goal. And I invite Prime Minister Primakov or Foreign Minister Ivanov to join us in Washington for those meetings.

The new Russia and the new NATO have many interests in common. We are both endangered by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We both desire stability in the Balkans and throughout Europe. The United States wants NATO and Russia to be able to act jointly to address common challenges. This is our vision of the future of the NATO-Russia relationship.

At the core of that relationship are two simple pledges: the first to consult; the second to cooperate whenever and wherever we can.

By consulting, we strive always to achieve understanding whether or not we are able to achieve full agreement. Kosovo is a prime example.

We used this Council to discuss the very complex issues involved there. And together, we sent a message to Milosevic that his harsh campaign of repression must cease. And a message to all sides that violence is self-destructive and cannot succeed.

We welcome Russia's contribution of monitors to the Kosovo Verification Mission, and encourage our militaries to continue efforts to work out arrangements for Russian participation in the Air Verification Regime.

Through cooperation, NATO and Russia are advancing a range of shared interests. We continue to serve side by side in Bosnia. The Alliance plans to open a Military Liaison Mission in Moscow. Together, we are retraining retired Russian military officers, developing cooperative responses to civil emergencies, and formulating common approaches to global problems.

Looking ahead, we want to explore additional areas for cooperation. We pledge continued consultation.

And I am pleased that we were able to agree in Oslo last week to set the 1999 OSCE Summit as our common target for completing negotiations on adaptation of the CFE Treaty. The United States is fully committed to this objective and we are ready to work hard to resolve key issues.

We realize that this timeline is ambitious. If we are to get the job done, and done right, hard decisions will be required from each of us.

NATO took an important step yesterday by outlining, in a special statement devoted to CFE, how the Alliance will use several of the adapted Treaty's key provisions. That statement makes clear that NATO is not seeking to use the CFE negotiation to gain military advantage. Rather, we are seeking a balanced Treaty that benefits all.

To this end, NATO has advanced a concept that provides clear limits on the amount of equipment that may be located, permanently or temporarily, on the territory of countries in the region. It also provides for transparency about temporary deployments.

This concept is designed to foster stability and openness, while allowing needed flexibility to respond to crises. I hope that Russia will find it a useful basis for moving ahead. That positive step would enable us to meet the timetable set in Oslo.

We look forward to further discussions of these issues here in Brussels and in the formal negotiations in Vienna. There could be no more fitting a way to signal the fundamentally changed relationship we now enjoy than by completing our work together on adapting this landmark Treaty; a Treaty signed a decade ago, in what seems already a wholly different world.

And there could be no more effective a way to build a Europe that is truly whole and free than by continuing to strengthen this young but already accomplished Partnership Council.

[End of Document]

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