On the second day of its historic summit meeting in Madrid, NATO yesterday turned its attention to meeting the security concerns of both non-NATO members and those countries which aspire to join NATO but which were not invited into the alliance a day earlier. With that goal in mind, NATO leaders signed a comprehensive charter agreement with Ukraine (see item that follows) and inaugurated a new council of nations — called the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. The new organization will include the current NATO states and some 28 partner countries spanning North America, Europe, and the former Soviet Union. The council will have a permanent secretariat at NATO headquarters in Brussels. It will also provide a direct channel of communication with NATO in the event of any external threat, as well as a forum for political consultation and a vehicle for joint military exercises. Creation of the council is aimed at filling the security vacuum that has existed in Europe since the collapse of the Soviet empire. NATO leaders yesterday identified instability as the greatest security threat to Europe. (Reuter, AP, July 9)
NATO-Ukraine Charter Signed.