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World - Europe

NATO reaffirms power to take action without U.N. approval

 In-Depth Special
NATO at 50

April 24, 1999
Web posted at: 2:35 p.m. EDT (1835 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- NATO leaders have agreed on compromise language that recognizes the leadership of the U.N. in brokering international disputes -- but does not explicitly require NATO to seek U.N. approval before taking military action.

The phrasing settles a dispute between the United States and France over the alliance's authority to launch offensive military actions. It is expected to be released later Saturday in a new NATO strategy document.

NATO leaders are meeting in Washington for the alliance's 50th anniversary summit.

The United States has opposed efforts to require the U.N. Security Council to approve NATO military strikes, such as the ongoing action against Yugoslavia. France and some other NATO countries have said the alliance needs U.N. approval.

American officials say that would undermine the authority of the alliance, and they note that Russia and China would have exercised their Security Council vetoes to block the strike on Yugoslavia.

U.S. and NATO sources tell CNN that the compromise language recognizes the Security Council as the leading authority for upholding international peace and security, and it commits NATO to act within the principles of the U.N. charter. But it does not explicitly require the United Nations to sanction any NATO military action.

The strategy document is also designed to refine NATO's operations in other ways, including developing the ability to deploy NATO forces more rapidly; improving the coordination of intelligence among the 19 NATO allies; and improving the sharing of technology, so forces from different countries can be better integrated during joint military operations.

NATO leaders have also agreed on new strategies to discourage the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

NATO unleashes missile assault across Yugoslavia
April 24, 1999
NATO beefs up forces, moves to block Yugoslav oil
April 23, 1999
Kosovar men, feared victims of massacres, appear at border
April 23, 1999
NATO marks 50th in midst of Balkan war
April 23, 1999
Red Cross says Yugoslavia won't allow visit to POWs
April 23, 1999
U.S. not sending 2nd carrier to Yugo war
April 23, 1999

Extensive list of Kosovo-related sites:
  • Kosovo

  • Federal Republic of Yugoslavia official site
      • Kesovo and Metohija facts
  • Serbia Ministry of Information
  • Serbia Now! News

  • Kosova Crisis Center
  • Kosovo - from

  • F-117s arrive at Aviano to support possible NATO operations
  • NATO official site
  • BosniaLINK - U.S. Dept. of Defense
  • U.S. Navy images from Operation Allied Force
  • U.K. Ministry of Defence - Kosovo news
  • U.K. Royal Air Force - Kosovo news
  • Jane's Defence - Kosovo Crisis

  • U.S. Agency for International Development (Kosovo aid)
  • Doctors of the World
  • InterAction
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Kosovo Humanitarian Disaster Forces Hundreds of Thousands from their Homes
  • Catholic Relief Services
  • Kosovo Relief
  • ReliefWeb: Home page
  • The Jewish Agency for Israel
  • Mercy International

  • Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
  • Independent Yugoslav radio stations B92
  • Institute for War and Peace Reporting
  • United States Information Agency - Kosovo Crisis

  • Expanded list of related sites on Kosovo
  • 1997 view of Kosovo from space - Eurimage
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