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|Updated: 23-Mar-2005||IMS Press Advisory|
|18 March 2005||
Meeting of the NATO-Russia Council
Moscow, 15 March 2005
On 14 – 15 March 2005, the NATO-Russia Council - Military Representatives (NRC-MR) visited Moscow for their first meeting in Russia. The NRC-MR was invited by Army General Baluyevskyi, the Russian Chief of Defence, and hosted by Colonel General Mazurkevich. Lieutenant General Baptiste, Deputy Chairman of the Military Committee presided as Chairman of the meeting. The NRC-MR is the principal tool and discussion forum for co-operation on military issues of common interest of the 27 nations. It meets on a monthly basis at NATO Headquarters, where a wide selection of subjects are covered. The two-day programme, which included a visit to a Russian Air Defence Unit, demonstrates a further positive step in openness and co-operation between the Russian and NATO military authorities within the NATO-Russia Council’s framework.
The meeting focused on briefings and discussion about operational matters, enhanced interoperability between NATO and Russian Forces, combating terrorism and status of the work of NATO’s Military Mission in Moscow.
Interoperability is a key factor in military co-operation between NATO and Russian forces. The Interoperability Framework Programme is one of the success stories of the annual NRC-MR Work Plan. NATO and Russia have executed over 60 different events over the last eighteen months and the Programme for 2005 includes another 45 activities tailored toward a more practical cooperation. NATO and Russia have entered a new phase of military-to-military cooperation where the emphasis is placed on goal-oriented practical cooperation. A large part of the 2005 programme is aimed at accelerating the training of the Russian forces dedicated to joint operations with NATO.
Russia updated the Representatives on their extensive plans for enhancing interoperability. They referred in particular to the 15 th Motorised Rifle Brigade that will be dedicated to joint Peacekeeping operations with NATO, and any other UN-mandated joint operations. The 15 th Motorised Rifle Brigade is unique in that it is the first Russian force to consist exclusively of ‘career’ soldiers, who will be trained to a high standard. NATO offered further support to Russia in training and exercises and there were also offers of bi-lateral technical support with individual NATO nations.
Based on the Action Plan on Terrorism approved at the NATO- Russia Foreign Ministers’ meeting in December 2004, NATO and Russia continue to broaden and strengthen co-operation in evaluating and responding to threats posed by terrorism and by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Representatives were updated on progress made in certain areas, for example the exchange of military intelligence, specifically at the operational level.
Russia gave a detailed report on the work undertaken so far to prepare Russian ships to operate alongside NATO vessels in the Mediterranean as part of Operation Active Endeavour, NATO’s anti-terrorist operation in that area. Courses, seminars and exercises, that are a part of the Interoperability Programme, will also focus on combating terrorism, laying a sound foundation for future cooperation. Again, raising standards of interoperability is the key to enabling effective use of Russian forces and assets in Operation Active Endeavour, and working towards this goal is a priority.
Military Liaison Arrangements in Moscow:
NATO’s Military Liaison Mission in Moscow (MLM) updated on the wide range of tasks they undertake in their daily business. Since its creation in 2002, the MLM has proved to be indispensable as an essential link in the communication and liaison chain between NATO and Russian Military Authorities and between Brussels and Moscow. It enjoys excellent relations with the Russian Ministry of Defence and other Russian Ministries, built on mutual trust in the knowledge that they are working towards the same overall objectives.