NATO starts the year 2000 with the issue of concern. The European Allies' defense capability, stabilization efforts in the Balkans, and relations with Russia are at the top of a highly charged agenda.
In 1999 NATO accomplished many tasks, which were reviewed in the December 15th Washington Summit. They approved an updated Strategic Concept at the Washington Summit; admitted as new members the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland; contributed decisively, in particular through the conduct of their air campaign and the subsequent deployment of KFOR (NATO-led international peace force), to the international community's objective of creating the basis for long-term peace and stability in Kosovo.
What is NATO? NATO is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The North Atlantic Treaty was signed in Washington on April 4th, 1949, creating an alliance of 12 independent nations committed to each other's defense. Four more European nations later acceded to the Treaty between 1952 and 1982.
The now 19 members of NATO include Belgium, Canada, *Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, *Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, *Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States. (*Members since March 12, 1999) These countries commit themselves to maintaining and developing their defense capabilities, individually, and collectively, providing the basis for collective defense planning. The Treaty also provides the framework for consultation between the member countries whenever they feel that their national security is at risk.
Over the past few years, Russia and Ukraine have developed special independent relationships with the Alliance. This enables them to pursue, in different ways, cooperative programs on a wide range of practical security-related issues of benefit to their countries and to Europe as a whole. Both countries are members of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC). NATO continues to attach importance to discussions and practical co-operation with Russia. Their aim...