Updated: 28-Jun-2004 Press Releases


28 June 2004

Chairman's Statement

Meeting of the NATO-Russia Council at the level of
Foreign Ministers held in Istanbul

On 28 June 2004, Foreign Ministers of the NATO-Russia Council met in Istanbul. Taking stock of two years of accomplishments in the NRC framework, they reiterated their adherence to the goals, principles and commitments contained in the Founding Act, the Rome Declaration and past NRC decisions, and their determination to stand together against shared threats.

Ministers reaffirmed their desire to broaden NRC political dialogue, with a view to promoting common approaches and possible joint actions. In this context, they exchanged views on current international security issues, including the situations in Afghanistan, in the Balkans, and in Iraq, where they welcomed United Nations Security Council Resolution 1546 as paving the way for long-term stabilisation, and declared their full support for the independence, sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity of Iraq.

Ministers also addressed the concrete, practical contributions made by the NATO-Russia Council to the security of the Euro-Atlantic area. In particular:

  • They expressed their solidarity in standing against the terrorist threat and took note of the broad-based co-operation that has been developed in this area in the NRC framework, in this context, they also welcomed Russia's offer to participate in maritime operations in the Mediterranean Sea in the framework of Operation Active Endeavour, and the decision in principle by the North Atlantic Council that Russia could provide support to this operation according to agreed procedures. They further agreed on the need to intensify efforts to curb the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.
  • Welcoming the success of the March 2004 Theatre Missile Defence (TMD) Command Post Exercise in Colorado Springs and noting the successful conclusion of the first phase of the NRC Interoperability Study on TMD, they agreed to initiate the second phase of this flagship NRC project.
  • They welcomed the results of the civil emergency planning and response exercise Kaliningrad 2004, hosted by Russia earlier this month. They also noted progress achieved in the implementation of the NRC chemical, biological and radiological protection capabilities initiative.
  • Ministers reviewed progress achieved in enhancing military-to-military co-operation and the interoperability of NATO and Russian forces. In this context, they welcomed the recent establishment of a Russian Military Liaison Branch Office at SHAPE and the enhancement of the NATO Military Liaison Mission in Moscow. Ministers also expressed resolve to overcome remaining practical obstacles to co-operation, in particular to ensure Russia's accession to the Partnership for Peace Status of Forces Agreement by the end of 2004.
  • They looked forward to the completion of the NRG Cooperative Airspace Initiative Feasibility Study by the end of 2004.
  • Ministers noted the ongoing work of the NATO-Russia nuclear experts consultations and welcomed the Russian offer to attend a field demonstration aimed at demonstrating Russian Federation nuclear weapons incident response procedures.
  • They encouraged the Ad Hoc Working Group on Defence Reform to continue ongoing work on interoperability, with a view to completing the Political-Military Guidance towards Enhanced Interoperability between NATO and Russian Forces as a matter of priority for approval by NRC Defence Ministers. They also welcomed ongoing efforts to enhance practical work on military-technical cooperation.
  • Ministers reaffirmed their resolve to strengthen cooperation in crisis management. In this regard, they noted with satisfaction the ongoing work on the NATO-Russia Procedural Exercise and agreed to continue to consider practical ways to address operational, military and political-military aspects of the Generic Concept of Joint NATO-Russia Peacekeeping Operations.

Ministers recalled all relevant statements, reaffirmed the 4 June 2003 Statement of NRC Foreign Ministers in Madrid, and recalled NATO's position on providing political assurances of restraint. They also reaffirmed adherence to the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) as a cornerstone of European security. Those NRC members who are States Parties to the Treaty reaffirmed their determination to fulfil the commitments reflected in the Final Act of the 1999 Conference of the States Parties to the CFE Treaty. Calling upon all CFE States Parties to promote achievement of this shared goal, the NRC agreed to continue to work co-operatively toward ratification by ail the States Parties and entry into force of the Agreement on Adaptation of the CFE Treaty, which would permit accession by non-CFE states. Ministers welcomed the approach of the four non-CFE member states who have stated their intention to request accession to the adapted CFE Treaty upon its entry into force, and agreed that their accession would provide an important additional contribution to European stability and security. They reaffirmed their readiness to pursue work in the field of arms control and confidence-building measures.

Ministers also highlighted the potential for NRC cooperation on Afghanistan, in this context, they again welcomed Russia's offer to provide practical support to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan and reaffirmed their commitment to further practical cooperation in this regard. They expressed support for the Afghan Transitional Authority (ATA) in the implementation of its National Drug Control Strategy and its defence and security sector reform efforts, as well as for relevant international efforts aimed at stopping the cultivation of opium poppies and the production and transit of narcotics. They agreed that NRC efforts to combat this threat should add value through practical contributions, and should avoid duplicating efforts underway in other international fora and bilaterally, and tasked the NATO-Russia Council in permanent session with organising a meeting, reinforced by appropriate national experts, to generate and develop possible concrete activities and ideas for practical co-operation.

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