Saturday, April 24, 1999 Published at 23:59 GMT 00:59 UK
Nato: 'Leaner and meaner'
Kosovo has dominated the agenda at the Nato gathering
A new strategic concept to take Nato into the 21st Century has been agreed by alliance leaders at the 50th anniversary summit in Washington.
The first update to its mission statement since the end of the Cold War in 1991 gives Nato a broader role than just defending its own borders.
The initiative also aims to make Nato forces more mobile and increase the accuracy of their weapons systems.
BBC Political Correspondent Jon Sopel says Nato is seeking to become a leaner and meaner fighting force, moving away from its original conception as a defensive organisation.
US President Bill Clinton said the alliance could now "advance security and freedom for another 50 years".
He said the new role would include:
He welcomed the membership of Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic, saying enlargement of the alliance remained a priority.
"Nato is committed to keep its door open. The three new members which have celebrated here will not be the last," he said.
The Nato agreement also stressed the "primary responsibility" of the United Nations Security Council for world peace, without giving it an explicit veto on Nato action.
After overcoming Turkish objections, leaders also approved a statement recognising the European Union's role in security and defence policy and its right to approve military action where the alliance as a whole was not engaged.