Updated: 01-Dec-2003 NATO Press Releases


1 Dec. 2003


Meeting of the NATO-Russia Council
at the level of Ministers of Defence
NATO Headquarters, Brussels, 1 December 2003

  1. We, the Defence Ministers of the NATO-Russia Council, met in Brussels on 1 December 2003. Encouraged by the concrete progress achieved to date in the NRC framework, we are determined to build on achievements and to develop the means we need to act jointly in the face of common threats and challenges. On that basis, we renewed our commitment to deepening our engagement towards a wide-ranging NATO-Russia partnership on defence and military issues.
  2. On cooperation against terrorism, we welcomed the progress achieved on threat assessments. We urged further work on practical aspects of our fight against terrorism, and called for the development of concrete measures to facilitate rapid cooperation in response to future terrorist incidents, and welcomed the proposal by Supreme Allied Commander Transformation to host the third conference at senior level in this field, in Norfolk, in March 2004.
  3. We look forward to the completion of a joint assessment of global trends in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery as a first and significant step towards a comprehensive and regular exchange of views among NRC countries. We agreed to continue broadening the current NATO-Russia non-proliferation dialogue in support of efforts against proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical agents and their delivery means, and to further explore possibilities for practical cooperation.
  4. We welcomed the Russian invitation to NRC countries to observe a field exercise on safe handling procedures for nuclear weapons, as part of the ongoing consultations on nuclear weapons issues and implementation of the NATO-Russia Nuclear Experts' Consultations Work Plan for 2004.
  5. We applauded the progress achieved in taking forward the proposal to conduct a NATO-Russia procedural exercise designed to address the Political Aspects of a Generic Concept of Joint NATO-Russia Peacekeeping Operations, and welcomed in this context the successful completion of the preparatory phase of this exercise. We welcomed the decision to take forward the recommendations, resulting from an NRC peacekeeping seminar last September in Berlin on training and interoperability, which will enable closer cooperation between NATO and Russia in this realm. We look forward to exploring possibilities of developing interoperability between national military units in the field of peacekeeping.
  6. We noted with satisfaction the progress made in carrying forward Theatre Missile Defence (TMD) cooperation, particularly from the perspective of developing procedures for cooperation between NATO and Russian TMD forces in crisis response operations. We welcomed specifically the development of an experimental TMD concept and an experimental Concept of Operations, and the conduct of a Command Post Exercise scheduled in early 2004, and stressed the importance of a joint interoperability study launched this year, which will analyse and evaluate possible levels of interoperability of TMD systems.
  7. We welcomed the approval of the Cooperative Airspace Initiative (CAI) Project Plan and encouraged the group to progress further on the identification of possible solutions for the reciprocal exchange of data on civil and military air traffic pictures, and thereby enhance capabilities to combat terrorism threats to civil aviation.
  8. We noted the progress achieved in implementing our first yearly programme on defence reform and agreed a new Work Programme for 2004. We welcomed exchanges on the financial and budgetary aspects of defence reform, as well as the geographic and functional expansion of the NATO-Russia Retraining Centre, and encouraged further intensification of our efforts in these areas. We reiterated our determination to enhance practical work on military-technical cooperation through its defence industrial and research and technology dimensions. Finally, we agreed to develop measures to enhance transparency in defence planning and force structures to address jointly ongoing efforts at development and modernisation of our armed forces. We agreed to explore what instruments could be used to increase the interoperability and deployability for joint operations of NATO and Russian forces.
  9. We stressed that improving interoperability was a key priority in order to increase the capability of NATO and Russian forces to act together. In this context, we welcomed the Exercise and Training Programme agreed for 2004 and beyond under the direction and oversight of the NATO Chiefs of Defence Staff and the Chief of the Russian General Staff, as well as the practical activities agreed in the framework of the 2004 Work Programme on Cooperation on Search and Rescue at Sea. We also welcomed the imminent start of discussions on the development of protocols for visits by NATO and Russian naval units to each other's ports.
  10. In the field of interoperability and with the aim of facilitating joint action, we agreed to take forward a coherent and unified programme of logistic cooperation, including ongoing projects on air-to-air refuelling and the use of Russian transport capability. We agreed to facilitate the development of the necessary legal framework for such cooperation, including through the development of Memoranda of Understanding on Air Transport and Host Nation Support. We welcomed the readiness of the Russian Federation and NATO to conclude a Status of Forces Agreement as a critical step towards joint military activities, and urged the rapid completion of negotiations in the near future.
  11. As a further demonstration of an ever-deepening NATO-Russia relationship, we welcomed the establishment of a direct secure telephone communication link between the Secretary General and the Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation. We conveyed our special gratitude to the Chairman of the NATO-Russia Council, Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, for his personal contribution to the development of a new quality in NATO-Russia cooperation. We are confident that the new chairman, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, will continue to build on this record of success.


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