15 Dec. 2000
Secretary General, Lord Robertson
at the meeting of the Permanent Joint Council (PJC)
Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have the privilege to open the sixth meeting of the NATO-Russia Permanent
Joint Council in Ministerial session, and I welcome, in particular, our
Russian colleague, Minister Ivanov, who made an extra effort to be here
NATO and Russia have come a long, albeit not always easy way since the
signing of the NATO-Russia Founding Act in Paris. The central message
of this document is as relevant as ever: NATO and Russia have much to
contribute to security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area by working
together. The Permanent Joint Council is an expression of this fundamental
truth. It is one of the most important new institutional arrangements
that have emerged in the aftermath of the Cold War, and a very promising
Twelve months ago, we were focusing on Kosovo only. Today we can look
back to substantial progress in broadening the cooperation that we have
jointly achieved over the past months.
Our May meeting in Florence provided a strong impetus to this process.
Since then, we have been witnessing significant and encouraging progress
in a number of areas:
- The PJC dealt with topics of direct interest to NATO and Russia:
strategy and doctrine, arms control, proliferation, military infrastructure,
nuclear weapons issues, search and rescue at sea, and, of course, Kosovo,
to name but a few examples.
- Exchanges of military representatives under the auspices of the PJC
have become more constructive and liaison at SHAPE has improved significantly.
- The PJC Peacekeeping Working Group finally got down to business and
we had a number of useful ad hoc expert meetings on a variety of topics.
- Our respective staffs carry forward issues such as the retraining
of discharged military personnel, civil emergency planning or scientific
- We will exchange letters today on the establishment of a NATO Information
Office in Moscow. I also welcome the steps taken by PJC Defence Ministers
on 5 December to resume negotiations on a NATO Military Liaison Mission
- Last but not least, Russia has resumed her participation in the EAPC.
The pivotal role NATO and Russia can play in creating and sustaining
European stability has become particularly evident in our cooperation
with regard to the former Yugoslavia. In reviewing developments in Kosovo
and Bosnia and Herzegovina, we can build on the considerable common ground
we have achieved through the excellent cooperation of the NATO and Russian
contingents in theatre, substantive liaison at SHAPE, and the useful exchanges
we have held at Ministerial and Ambassadorial level. Clearly, there is
no room for complacency. But our constructive cooperation should provide
a solid basis for further enhancing our common efforts in support of peace
and stability in the region. These NATO-Russia endeavours will remain
of utmost importance.
On the whole, the NATO-Russia dialogue and cooperation is heading in
the right direction. Yet, there are still some situations in which we
experience a lack of trust and understanding. And some areas of cooperation
envisaged in the Founding Act remain untapped.
I believe we can and should do more to achieve the central objective
of the Permanent Joint Council: to build increasing levels of trust. To
meet this goal, both NATO and Russia will have to go the extra mile to
develop a more genuine and dependable partnership. Only this will lead
to a level of cooperation commensurate with the challenges ahead.
Today is a good opportunity to make another step in this direction. I
am confident that we will be able to reinforce the positive momentum achieved
over the past months during this meeting.