NATO reaffirms power to take action without U.N. approval
April 24, 1999
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
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