Updated: 04-Dec-2003 Press Releases


4 Dec. 2003

Meeting of the NATO-Russia Council
at the level of Foreign Ministers

We, the Foreign Ministers of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC), meeting today in Brussels, reiterated our commitment to an intensified and growing partnership between NATO member states and Russia, based on the development, in the spirit of the Rome Declaration, of common approaches to shared threats. We reiterated our determination to follow up on our Madrid statement. With this goal in mind, we confirmed our commitment to strengthen further the practical capabilities that will enable the NRC to achieve its full potential. Looking forward to the second anniversary of the NRC, we reiterated our determination that the NRC should continue to make a substantial and positive contribution to the security of all peoples in the Euro-Atlantic area.

The NRC reaffirmed its determination to continue and broaden its political dialogue on a range of important security issues in the Euro-Atlantic area, including emerging crises, with a view to promoting common positions and determining optimal common approaches and possible joint actions.

We remain committed to helping Afghanistan achieve lasting stability, and welcomed the results of ongoing consultations in the NRC. We welcomed in particular Russia’s offer to provide practical support to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. We also underlined our support for ongoing Afghan and international efforts for reconstruction, security sector reform, the fight against drug trafficking and ensuring effective border controls.

We welcomed concrete NRC political initiatives to encourage reform in the defence and other sectors in Bosnia and Herzegovina and to promote effective border control in South-Eastern Europe. We commended Serbia and Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, for their steps toward reconciliation and regional co-operation, as well as for the reforms they are carrying out, including in the defence sector. We expect that both countries will continue their reform processes in order to become integral parts of the Euro-Atlantic family of nations. The NRC stands by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in his efforts to stabilise Kosovo and to assist in creating conditions conducive to progress on the internationally endorsed standards for Kosovo, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244. We stressed the need for full co-operation throughout the region with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), including by bringing all indictees to justice, in accordance with all relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

We fully associated ourselves with the statement made by our Defence Minister colleagues at their meeting earlier this month in Brussels. We welcomed the significant progress achieved in all areas of practical co-operation, including in particular:

  • further work on practical aspects of our fight against terrorism, building on agreed threat assessments;
  • the broadening and deepening of NRC co-operation on defence reform;
  • the intensification of NRC military-to-military co-operation and efforts to develop interoperability among NATO and Russian forces;
  • progress made to date in implementation of the ongoing NATO-Russia Procedural Exercise, designed to address modalities for possible NATO-Russia Peacekeeping Operations, as well as other work aimed at improving our co-operation on peacekeeping;
  • intensified co-operation in coping with civil emergencies, including Russia’s invitation to NRC member states to participate in the exercise “Kaliningrad 2004”;
  • ongoing dialogue and co-operation on a range of nuclear issues, including Russia’s invitation to NRC countries to observe a field exercise on safe handling procedures for nuclear weapons;
  • the development of an experimental concept of TMD operations and the scheduling of a related Command Post Exercise in early 2004; and
  • approval of the Co-operative Airspace Initiative Project Plan.

Determined to continue the intensification of our efforts in these and other areas, we approved a robust and forward-looking NRC Work Programme for 2004.

We looked forward to the early 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 and to further explore possibilities for practical co-operation.

Finally, we reaffirmed our commitment to ensure security and stability in Europe. We reiterated our determination to continue to work co-operatively toward ratification and entry into force of the adapted CFE Treaty. In this context, we recalled the importance and continued validity of our Madrid statement, and reaffirmed our readiness to pursue our work on this basis.

We thanked Lord Robertson of Port Ellen for his important contribution in establishing a new quality of relations between NATO member states and Russia. We expressed confidence that the new Chairman of the NATO-Russia Council, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, will continue to carry forward this relationship and build on the NRC’s record of success.

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