Overview of NATO- Russia relations.


Since the end of the Cold War,
NATO
has attached particular importance to the development of constructive and cooperative
relations
with
Russia
. Over the past ten years,
NATO
and
Russia
have succeeded in achieving substantial progress in developing a genuine partnership and overcoming the vestiges of earlier confrontation and competition in order to strengthen mutual trust and cooperation.
Since 1991, the Alliance and
Russia
have been working together on a variety of defence and security-
related
issues. In 1994,
Russia
joined the Partnership for Peace Programme, further enhancing the emerging broad
NATO
-
Russia
dialogue.
Russia
's participation in the implementation of the Peace Agreement for Bosnia and Herzegovina was a particularly significant step towards a new cooperative relationship. For the first time, Allied and Russian contingents worked side by side in a multinational military operation.

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By signing the
NATO
-
Russia
Founding Act on Mutual
Relations
, Cooperation and Security
May 1997,
NATO
and
Russia
institutionalised and substantially enhanced their partnership. They committed themselves to further developing their
relations
on the basis of common
interests and created a new forum to achieve this goal: the
NATO
-
Russia
Permanent Joint Council (PJC). Since July 1997 the PJC has been the principal venue for consultation between
NATO
and
Russia
. Its central objective is to build increasing levels of trust by providing a mechanism for regular and frank consultations. Since the conclusion of the Founding Act, considerable and encouraging progress has been made in intensifying consultation and cooperation. The PJC has developed into an important venue in which to consult, to promote transparency and confidence-building and to foster cooperation.


Initial constructive work in the PJC was, however, increasingly overshadowed by the emerging crisis in Kosovo. This development culminated in
Russia
's suspension of cooperation within the PJC on 24 March 1999, as a result of
NATO
's air campaign to end the Kosovo conflict. After the end of the Kosovo campaign,
Russia
returned to the PJC, but for some months limited its agenda to topics
related
to Kosovo.
Russia
also agreed to contribute a significant number of troops to the
NATO
-led Kosovo Force (KFOR), as provided for in UN Security Council Resolution 1244.
Following the setbacks encountered in 1999, a visit to Moscow by
NATO
Secretary General Lord Robertson in February 2000 helped to restore a broader relationship, going beyond the Kosovo agenda. As a result of that visit,
NATO
and
Russia
once again are actively engaged in implementing the objectives of the Founding Act. Building on the positive momentum achieved during the Secretary General's visit, monthly PJC meetings and regular Ministerial meetings of the PJC have provided a further positive impetus to
NATO
-
Russia
cooperation across the board. This has included the opening of a
NATO
Information Office in Moscow by the
NATO
Secretary General in February 2001 and the beginning of consultations on the establishment of a
NATO
Military Liaison Mission in Moscow.
Fifth anniversary of NATO-Russia
special relationship - a turning point
Exactly five years ago, on 27 May 1997, Russia's President, Boris Yelstin, the then NATO Secretary General, Javier Solana, and NATO Heads of State and Government signed the Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security between NATO and the Russian Federation. The Founding Act acknowledged that NATO and Russia were no longer adversaries and marked the beginning of a new era in relations.
This fifth anniversary will also become a turning point in the history of NATO-Russia relations with the holding of a NATO-Russia Summit in Rome on 28 May. The Summit will lay the ground for a new relationship between NATO member countries and Russia by establishing a new forum for discussion and decision making: the NATO-Russia Council. This forum builds on the achievements of the Founding Act, which set out a wide agenda of topics on which NATO and Russia could collaborate and, in particular, established the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council (PJC) where NATO member countries and Russia could consult on a regular basis. The new Council will replace the PJC and take the relationship further by operating on the principle of consensus, allowing NATO members and Russia to work "as equal partners in areas of common interest while preserving NATO's prerogative to act independently".


As well as establishing this forum on the occasion of the fifth anniversary, a NATO Military Liaison Mission in Moscow was inaugurated on 27 May by Admiral Guido Venturoni, the Chairman of the Military Committee, NATO's highest military authority. The ceremony was also attended by the First Deputy Chief of the Russian General Staff, Colonel-General Yuri Baluyevsky, and the Deputy Head of Mission of the Belgian Host Embassy, Minister-Counsellor Filip Cumps. The office will support the implementation of military cooperation and serve as the principal liaison between NATO HQ and the Russian Ministry of Defence. It will be headed by Major General Peter Williams, UK Army, who will be assisted by a deputy, Colonel Josef Urbanowicz, Polish Army. This is the second NATO office in Moscow, the first having been NATO's Information Office, opened in February 2001.


Setting the agenda for the modernisation of NATO
Meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers in Reykjavik, Iceland
Key security issues, including the adaptation of the Alliance to face new challenges, were at the top of the agenda for NATO and Partner Foreign Ministers who gathered in Reykjavik on 14-15 May. Considered as a "vital stepping stone on the road to NATO's Summit in Prague" and to the NATO-Russia Summit meeting in Rome on 28 May, these Spring Ministerial meetings focused on the modernisation of NATO and its adaptation to the changed security environment. "NATO was transformed after the Cold War to build a new kind of security across Europe. It was transformed yet again to meet and overcome instability in the Balkans. Now it must change once more to deal with the threats of a new century" explained NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson, during a press conference. He added that Foreign Ministers had provided the guidance for NATO's transformation during the two-day meeting: "Terrorism, enlargement, new capabilities, new relationships - this is the agenda of change".


Terrorism and new capabilities - The need to combat terrorism and adapt the capabilities of NATO member countries to deal with new security threats were considered to be key issues in the general debate on the evolution of NATO's role. As well as terrorism, Ministers discussed the risk posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the use of chemical and biological weapons. These issues will be further discussed at the meeting of NATO Defence Ministers on 6-7 June.
Enlargement - Ministers received a Consolidated Progress Report on the results of the third cycle of the Membership Action Plan (MAP). They agreed that decisions on who to invite will only be taken at the Prague Summit. In the meantime, all invitees must pursue their preparations actively. Individual Annual National Programmes will be submitted in the Autumn before the Prague Summit and the signing of the individual accession protocols will take place no later than Spring 2003. Croatia has joined the MAP process and will have its first meeting with NATO member countries next Spring.
NATO-Russia relations
Reykjavik marked a "historic breakthrough in NATO-Russia relations" with an agreement on the establishment of the NATO-Russia Council, which will replace the existing NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council. This new forum will "operate on the principle of consensus", allowing NATO members and Russia to work "as equal partners in areas of common interest while preserving NATO's prerogative to act independently". The document will be adopted and signed at the NATO-Russia Summit in Rome on 28 May, making 14 May the last meeting of the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council.
Partnerships - In addition to relations with Russia, Foreign Ministers also reviewed NATO's partnership with its 27 Partner countries within the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC). At the meeting of the EAPC on 15 May, NATO and Partner Foreign Ministers discussed several practical proposals to strengthen their cooperation and make the Partnership for Peace more flexible in the wake of NATO's next round of enlargement. They also stressed the need to reinforce relations with countries participating in the Mediterranean Dialogue.