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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): The US/Russian Summit in Moscow on 10 May was a bilateral meeting. But there is consensus between NATO member states on the Alliance's enlargement policy.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: All NATO Allies are agreed that Russia does not need to be compensated for enlargement. Instead, the Alliance wishes to build a comprehensive and lasting NATO/Russia relationship which will reflect the unique role Russia plays in European security. We feel that the US/Russian Summit in Moscow will contribute to this objective.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The Republican Party's "Contract with America" asserted that Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia should be in a position to join NATO by 1999; that the United States should help them prepare for admission; and that other non-member European countries should be invited to join NATO if they agreed to contribute to North Atlantic security. Draft legislation reflecting these principles is currently under consideration by the US Congress.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The US Administration has not identified those east and central European states it regards as desirable members of NATO. Neither has any other Ally. The Alliance has agreed to conduct first a study into the modalities and rationale for enlargement. Which countries might be invited to join, and when, is for a later date.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The deployment of nuclear weapons on new members' territory is being addressed in the NATO enlargement study. Article V of the Washington Treaty states, inter alia, that "an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all . . . ". This would apply equally to any new member of NATO.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Since the end of the cold war, NATO has done much valuable work in adapting to the new security environment in Europe. It has set itself the task of extending security and stability to the new democracies of central and eastern Europe, through the establishment of the North Atlantic Co-operation Council, the launch of Partnership for Peace and its eventual enlargement eastwards. It has offered to support peacekeeping and other operations under the authority of the UN Security Council or the responsibility of the OSCE. It has agreed on the importance of a strong European defence effort as a pillar underpinning the Atlantic Alliance.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The NATO study of the potential challenges to the Alliance from the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is separate from the US "Counter-proliferation Initiative", which is a US national measure. The NATO study is still continuing and so it is not possible to judge what its conclusions will be.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Alliance leaders made it clear in their Summit communiqué of January 1994 that the transatlantic link is the bedrock of NATO. The continued substantial presence of United States forces in Europe is a fundamental aspect of that link. All NATO countries have expressed the wish to continue the direct involvement of the United States in the security of Europe.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Before any military deployment by NATO, the processes of joint decision making and political consultation ensure that the overall policies and intentions of Alliance members are understood. In this way, the distinctions which might exist between members as a result of their geographical, political or military situations are fully taken into account wherever such exercises are considered.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: NATO has offered to support on a case-by-case basis peacekeeping and other operations under the authority of the United Nations Security Council or under the responsibility of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, in order to make its contribution to furthering collective security. This does not imply that the OSCE will have political precedence over NATO.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) provides an effective contribution to European security by preventing conflict. Its institutionsfor example, the High Commissioner on National Minoritiesprovide early warning of potential conflict and contribute to remedying its causes. The OSCE supports the development of democracy, the peaceful settlement of disputes, respect for human rights, including protection of minority rights, and emerging market economies. Participating states also develop arms control and confidence and security building measures, including Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) and Open Skies Treaties. Countries acquiring new conventional arms must accommodate these within the overall limits agreed by the CFE Treaty.
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