Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security between NATO and the Russian Federation

  • 27 May. 1997
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  • Last updated: 05 Nov. 2008 05:12

  1. The "Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security between NATO and the Russian Federation" was approved by the North Atlantic Council on 16 May 1997. It is the product of four months of intensive negotiations between Secretary General Solana and Russian Foreign Minister Primakov. The Secretary General, the Heads of State and Government of the North Atlantic Alliance and the President of the Russian Federation will sign the document in Paris on 27 May.

  2. The NATO - Russia Founding Act reflects the changing security environment in Europe, an environment in which the confrontation of the Cold War has been replaced by the promise of closer cooperation among former adversaries. It reflects in particular the practice of consultation and cooperation established between the Alliance and Russia over the last few years, the most remarkable example being the participation of Russian troops alongside those of NATO and other partner countries in IFOR/SFOR.

    NATO and Russia do not consider each other as adversaries; the Founding Act is the expression of an enduring commitment, undertaken at the highest political level, to build together a lasting and inclusive peace in the Euro-Atlantic area.

    The new security partnership between NATO and Russia will be one step among others which are being taken to build a stable, peaceful and undivided Europe. It will allow the Alliance and Russia to forge a closer relationship. This is in the interest, not only of NATO and Russia, but also of all states in the Euro-Atlantic area.

  3. The Founding Act, as agreed with the Russian side, has four sections. It begins with a preamble which establishes the context for the stable and enduring partnership we want to build. It states the reasons why NATO and Russia believe that it is in their shared interest to cooperate more broadly and intensively.

    It highlights the profound transformation that the Alliance has undergone since the end of the Cold War, through reductions of conventional and nuclear forces, through a revision of its strategic concept, through its new missions such as peacekeeping, and through its support for security cooperation throughout Europe, in particular within the framework of Partnership for Peace. It also refers to the transformation Russia is undergoing, its force reductions - which will continue -, the withdrawal of Russian forces from Central and Eastern Europe, the revision of Russia's military doctrine, and its participation in the multinational operation in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

  4. Section I details the principles on which the NATO - Russia partnership will be based. These include commitments to norms of international behaviour as reflected in the UN Charter and OSCE documents, as well as more explicit commitments such as respecting states' sovereignty, independence and right to choose the means to ensure their security, and the peaceful settlement of disputes. Both sides commit themselves to strengthening the OSCE with the aim of creating a common space of security and stability in Europe.

  5. Section II creates a new forum: the NATO - Russia Permanent Joint Council (PJC). This will be the venue for consultations, cooperation and - wherever possible - consensus building between the Alliance and Russia. The PJC will:
    • hold regular consultations on a broad range of political or security related matters;

    • based on these consultations, develop joint initiatives on which NATO and Russia would agree to speak or act in parallel;

    • once consensus has been reached, make joint decisions, if appropriate, and take joint action on a case-by-case basis.

    Such joint actions may include peacekeeping operations under the authority of the UN Security Council or the responsibility of the OSCE.

  6. Section III details a broad range of topics on which NATO and Russia can consult and perhaps cooperate, including preventing and settling conflicts, peacekeeping, preventing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and exchanging information on security and defence policies and forces. Conversion of defence industries, defence related environmental issues, and civil emergency preparedness are other areas for consultation and possible cooperation spelled out in this section.

  7. Section IV covers military issues. In this section, the members of NATO reiterate their statement of 10 December 1996 that they have no intention, no plan and no reason to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of new members, nor any need to change any aspects of NATO's nuclear posture or nuclear policy - and do not foresee any future need to do so.

    NATO also reiterates its 14 March 1997 Statement indicating that in the current and foreseeable security environment, NATO plans to carry out its collective defence and other missions by ensuring the necessary interoperability, integration and capability for reinforcement rather than by additional permanent stationing of substantial combat forces. Accordingly, the Alliance will have to rely on adequate infrastructure to allow for reinforcement if necessary.

    NATO and Russia commit themselves in the same section to pursuing promptly the work relating to the adaptation of the treaty governing conventional forces in Europe (CFE), in order to further reduce the levels of Treaty Limited Equipment. This commitment will be pursued in the ongoing negotiations on CFE adaptation in Vienna and will help to achieve a result that reflects the changed security environment in Europe since the Treaty was adopted in 1990.

    Finally, Section IV provides mechanisms to foster closer military-to-military cooperation between NATO and Russia, including by creating military liaison missions on both sides.

  8. Both sides have agreed that nothing in this document restricts or impedes the ability of either side to decide independently. It does not provide NATO or Russia at any stage with a right of veto over the actions of the other. The provisions of the NATO-Russia Founding Act can also not be used as a means to disadvantage the interests of other states.

  9. The NATO-Russia Founding Act does not subordinate NATO to any other organisation, and it can in no way diminish the political or military effectiveness of the Alliance, including its ability to meet its security commitment to current and future members. NATO and Russia will work together on a broad spectrum of tasks in the Permanent Joint Council, which will, however, remain clearly separate from the North Atlantic Council - NATO's own decision-making body.

    The Founding Act with Russia has been negotiated and will be concluded on its own merits; it is not meant as a compensation. It does not delay, limit or dilute NATO's opening for the accession of new members, and it will not relegate any new NATO member to second class status.