Updated: 16-Nov-2000 Press Statement

Press Statement
24 May 2000


NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council
Meeting at Ministerial level held in Florence on 24 May 2000

The NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council (PJC) met at the level of Foreign Ministers on Wednesday, 24 May 2000 in Florence.

Ministers emphasised the importance for the security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area of a strong, stable and enduring partnership between NATO and Russia on the basis of common interest, reciprocity and transparency, as laid down in the NATO-Russia Founding Act. In this context, they recalled the visit of the Secretary General of NATO to Moscow on 16 February when it was agreed that NATO and Russia would work to intensify their dialogue in the PJC seeking improved cooperation on a broad range of issues.

Ministers noted important consultations on issues related to the situation in the former Yugoslavia, building on the cooperation between NATO and Russian forces in SFOR and KFOR.

Ministers noted with particular interest the important exchange of views and information on strategy, military doctrine and infrastructure development programmes, undertaken at the recent PJC Ambassadorial meetings, as a means towards building confidence, enhancing transparency and dispelling misperceptions. They agreed to in-depth follow-up discussions on these issues. Ministers also took note of the recent PJC consultations on non-proliferation issues, disarmament and arms control issues as well as on scientific cooperation.

Ministers reviewed the situation in the former Yugoslavia and exchanged views on NATO-Russia cooperation in the international security presence in Kosovo (KFOR). They reviewed, in particular, the state of implementation of the security aspects of UNSCR 1244 and stressed their determination to meet in full the aims set out therein. They are resolved to work together towards ensuring multi-ethnicity of Kosovo, cessation of violence against ethnic minorities, return of refugees and internally displaced persons irrespective of their ethnic origin, strengthening of local democratic structures, establishment of a functioning judicial system, fight against organised crime, arms and drugs trafficking and illegal possession of weapons. NATO and Russia agreed to cooperate closely in all these areas and in the protection of all the ethnic groups in Kosovo. They underlined that provocations and other attempts to undermine the peace process will not be tolerated.

Ministers approved a PJC Work Programme for the remainder of 2000, agreeing to continue ongoing work and outlining a number of additional issues for consultation as well as practical cooperation activities.

Ministers confirmed agreement on the establishment of a NATO Information Office in Moscow as provided for in the Founding Act. They agreed to finalise the negotiations as early as possible, bearing in mind the need to improve public understanding of evolving relations between NATO and Russia.

Ministers agreed to maintain the positive momentum as demonstrated during this meeting in Florence and to meet again in December in Brussels to review NATO-Russia consultation and cooperation under the Founding Act and to continue discussions on issues of mutual interest.

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