Partnership for Peace Status of Forces Agreement
The Partnership for Peace (PfP) Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) is a multilateral agreement between NATO member states and countries participating in the PfP programme. It deals with the status of foreign forces while present on the territory of another state.
The agreement was originally drawn up in Brussels on 19 June 1995 to facilitate cooperation and exercises under the PfP programme launched a year earlier.
Basically, the PfP SOFA applies – with the necessary changes having been made – most of the provisions of an agreement between NATO member states, which was done in London on 19 June 1951. (Some provisions of this so-called NATO SOFA cannot be applied to partner countries for technical reasons.)
It is important to note that these SOFAs fully respect the principle of territorial sovereignty, which requires a receiving state to give its consent to the entry of foreign forces. Neither the PfP SOFA nor the NATO SOFA addresses the issue of the presence of the force itself – that would be defined in separate arrangements. Consequently, it is only after states have agreed to send or receive forces that the SOFAs concerned are applicable.
By acceding to the PfP SOFA, the parties to the agreement identify exactly what the status of their forces will be and what privileges, facilities and immunities will apply to them, when they are present on the territory of another state, which is party to the PfP SOFA. All states that are party to the agreement grant the same legal status to forces of the other parties when these are present on their territory.
Therefore, once there is a common agreement, for example, regarding a certain operation, training or exercise, the same set of provisions will apply on a reciprocal basis. A common status and an important degree of equal treatment will be reached, which will contribute to the equality between partners.