|Last update: 15-Jan-2004 8:49||NATO Update|
10 years of Partnership for Peace
Ten years ago this month, NATO launched the Partnership for Peace, opening a new chapter in its relations with partner countries in Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia.
On 10 January 1994, at a meeting in Brussels, NATO Heads of State and Government invited the Alliance’s partner countries at that time “to forge a real partnership - a Partnership for Peace.”
The Partnership for Peace is designed to encourage practical cooperation with individual partner countries. Each country is invited to draw up a ‘shopping list’ of concrete activities - such as joint military exercises, defence conversion programmes and training - that it would like to engage in, choosing from different areas proposed by NATO.
The basic aim is to stimulate and support domestic defence reform in partner countries and the creation of modern, effective and democratically responsible armed forces and other defence institutions. Furthermore, to help countries manage the social and material consequences of such reform.
The programme has proven to be a vital instrument for bringing partner countries closer to the Alliance and, in the case of ten countries, three of which are NATO members today, paving the way for NATO membership.
Today, there are 27 partner countries in the Partnership for Peace. Seven of these are in the final stages of becoming NATO members.
“Therefore, as we greet this ten-year mark, we can look back at a record of success. The Euro-Atlantic Partnership has been a catalyst of domestic transformation and of international security co-operation on a historically unprecedented scale,” said NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, opening his first meeting of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, on 14 January, and referring to the occasion of the anniversary.
A key aspect of the Partnership for Peace is building interoperability, meaning that forces from partner countries are trained to operate side by side with troops from NATO countries, allowing partner countries to contribute to NATO-led operations.
In 2002, at the Prague Summit, NATO Heads of State and Government reaffirmed
their commitment to NATO’s partnerships. A number of reforms were
introduced to make the Partnership for Peace more relevant to today’s
security environment. These are expected to be further strengthened at
the upcoming NATO Summit in Istanbul later this year.