NATO’s relations with the Kyrgyz Republic

  • Last updated: 17 May. 2012 15:54

The Kyrgyz Republic cooperates with NATO within the Partnership for Peace and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. NATO and Kyrgyzstan have developed practical cooperation in many areas, with the goal of enhancing regional and global security. The Individual Partnership Cooperation Programme (IPCP) lays out the programme of cooperation between NATO and Kyrgyzstan.

Joint press point between the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Mr. Almazbek Atambayev (left) and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (right)

  • Framework for cooperation

    Dialogue takes place within the framework of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC). The NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, James Appathurai, conducts high-level political dialogue with Kyrgyz authorities. The NATO Liaison Officer in Central Asia also visits Bishkek regularly and reviews cooperation with the government.

    NATO and Kyrgyzstan are developing practical cooperation in a number of areas through the country’s Individual Partnership Cooperation Programme (IPCP), which is jointly agreed each year. Key areas include security and peacekeeping cooperation, especially counter-terrorism cooperation and border security, crisis management, and civil emergency planning.

    The country joined the PfP Planning and Review Process (PARP) in 2007 to work more closely with the Allies on military interoperability and defence planning initiatives, with objectives underpinned by a set of tailored Partnership Goals.

    Kyrgyzstan is expected to attend the meeting on the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, which is taking place in expanded format at the NATO Summit in Chicago in May 2012.

  • Key areas of cooperation

    Security cooperation

    Kyrgyzstan participates in numerous PfP exercises. The Kyrgyz Government has identified a number of units as available for NATO/PfP operations and training exercises. Participation requires a government decision in each individual case. The units include an infantry company, a special National Guards platoon for counter-terrorism and peacekeeping training, and a border guard company.

    NATO and the Kyrgyzstan are also developing an agreement on the transit of surface (rail and road) cargo for ISAF across Kyrgyz territory.

    Defence and security sector reform

    In consultation with the NATO Allies, Kyrgyzstan is in the process of reforming its armed forces. The PARP, which Kyrgyzstan joined in 2007, has the potential to further assist the government in developing reform plans and activities. These reforms should also enhance Kyrgyzstan’s ability to take part in peacekeeping operations alongside NATO forces.

    Kyrgyzstan is working to enhance its mountain search and rescue capabilities, and its military command and control structures. Military education plays a role in these processes and cooperation in this area covers a wide range of areas, including language training, search and rescue education and training, border security and control, and the law of armed conflicts and human rights.

    Kyrgyzstan also participates in a NATO-supported retraining programme for released military personnel. The goal of the programme is to cushion the socio-economic consequences of the country’s restructuring armed forces by facilitating the re-entry of former military personnel into the civilian job market.

    Civil emergency planning

    Civil emergency planning is a key area of cooperation for Kyrgyzstan. With the Allies, the country is working to improve its effectiveness in responding to natural disasters and emergency situations. Kyrgyzstan is particularly interested in relevant scientific and technical cooperation and the mechanisms available through the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC).

    Kyrgyzstan has sent experts to relevant seminars at the NATO School in Oberammergau, as well as to relevant discussions at NATO Headquarters.

    Science and environment

    Scientists from Kyrgyzstan have received grant awards in a range of subject areas under NATO’s Science for Peace and Security (SPS) programme.

    Scientists from Kyrgyzstan, alongside experts from Belgium, Russia and the Slovak Republic, are working on a project to prevent landslide dam disasters in the Tien Shan, a mountainous region in the Kyrgyz Republic prone to major earthquakes and vulnerable to landslides.

    In addition, scientists from the Kyrgyz Republic, United Kingdom, Italy and Uzbekistan have been working together on a project aimed at increasing geo-environmental security in the region of Toktogul Hydroelectric Power Station. Scientists from the Kyrgyz Republic have also been looking at ways to manage uranium industry wastes in order to prevent adverse effects on the health of local populations and the environment.

    Kyrgyzstan also participates in the Virtual Silk Highway project, which aims to increase internet access for academic and research communities in countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia through a satellite-based network.

    In September 2008, participants from Kyrgyzstan attended an advanced training course on the concept and parameters of the use of force in countering terrorism. In May 2010, scientists and engineers from Kyrgyzstan, as well as other countries from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region, took part in a NATO science programme designed to train participants in securing cyber networks. The primary goal of the training was to strengthen the cyber networks of the educational and scientific communities in the CIS region. In total, scientists and experts from the Kyrgyz Republic have had leading roles in 49 activities under the SPS programme.

    Public information

    Kyrgyzstan and NATO continue working together to increase public understanding of NATO and the benefits of cooperation. This is done through different strands of activities, including visits to NATO Headquarters, international workshops in Kyrgyzstan, and video conferences between NATO and Kyrgyz academic institutions. 

    Work is ongoing to build and enhance networks with universities, non-governmental organisations, and the press and media in order to increase awareness of the Alliance and Euro-Atlantic security issues in general. To this end, Kyrgyzstan hosted the EAPC youth forum in Bishkek in November 2007.

    NATO supports educational activities relevant to security and defence issues and is working with Kyrgyzstan to increase public access to NATO and security-related documents. To this end, NATO and Kyrgyzstan opened a NATO Depository Library at the Diplomatic Academy in Bishkek in February 2009.

    In every partner country an embassy of one of the NATO member states serves as a contact point and operates as a channel for disseminating information about the role and policies of the Alliance. The current NATO Contact Point Embassy in Kyrgyzstan is the embassy of Germany.

  • Milestones in relations

    1992 Kyrgyzstan joins the North Atlantic Cooperation Council, renamed the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in 1997.
    1994 Kyrgyzstan joins the Partnership for Peace.
    2000 NATO’s Secretary General visits Kyrgyzstan
    2003 Kyrgyzstan is connected to the Virtual Silk Highway.
    2004 NATO Secretary General visits Kyrgyzstan
    2006 The Allies provide aid to Kyrgyzstan through the EADRCC as heavy snowfall causes extensive damage in the south of the country
    2007 Kyrgyzstan joins the PfP Planning and Review Process (PARP).
    Kyrgyzstan hosts the EAPC youth forum in Bishkek in November.
    2008 Kyrgyzstan hosts a Science for Peace and Security-sponsored training course entitled “Use of Force in Countering Terrorism” in Bishkek.
    2009 The NATO Depository Library opens at the Diplomatic Academy in Bishkek.
    Kyrgyzstan officially launches a NATO-supported retraining programme for released military personnel in Bishkek.
    2011 In February, the President of Kyrgyzstan, Roza Otunbayeva, visits NATO HQ.
      In May,the newly appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary General (DASG) for Political and Security Policy and NATO Special Representative for Central Asia, James Appathurai, visits Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to discuss regional security issues and the expansion of practical cooperation programmes.