NATO-Russia Council: Ten Years of Cooperation
In 2012 the NATO-Russia Council marks its tenth anniversary. It was launched on the solid basis of the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security. Over the past decade in this unique forum, the NRC nations, which currently number 29, have sat together as equal partners, have conducted political dialogue on a range of issues, and have worked together on practical cooperative projects in areas of mutual interest.
Founding of the NRC
First, let us look back to May 2002. The creation of the NRC marked a key moment in NATO-Russia relations. In September 2001 the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York led to a greater realisation that many of today's threats are transnational and face all NRC nations. And more importantly, NRC nations can better face these threats and challenges by working together.
With this recognition, in 2002 in Rome the Heads of State and Government of the NRC nations came together to sign the NATO-Russia Council into being with the declaration: 'NATO-Russia Relations: A New Quality'. They included Vladimir Putin in his first term as President of Russia, and current Chairman of the NATO-Russia Council Anders Fogh Rasmussen - then Denmark's Prime Minister. It was a momentous moment for all nations.
In Rome in 2002 President Putin said: It would be difficult to overestimate the significance of the Summit. Even quite recently, this kind of meeting between the leaders of Russia and the NATO member nations, given the format and quality it has today, would have been unthinkable. It has now become a reality - one which is possible thanks to intensive joint work and the willingness to engage in lively and open dialogue. Twenty influential world States have realised that they have common vital security interests in a fast-changing international situation. They have realised sufficiently both the need for increased mutual understanding and the global danger of the new threats. First and foremost - the threat of international terrorism.
Chair of the NATO-Russia Council Anders Fogh Rasmussen described the moment as: a historic event in building the new security system in Europe. It is another sign of how much and how quickly everything has changed: old adversaries are now close partners, who share a common interest in fighting the new threat of terrorism.
Feature: Ten stories for ten years of NRC cooperation
In this Anniversary year, the NRC Website is celebrating 10 years of joint action with 10 feature stories on key practical cooperation projects, which are being conducted jointly by the nations of the NRC. These stories will show how NRC cooperation is having a tangible impact to the strengthening of the security of our nations. They range from cooperation on Afghanistan, to a number of NRC counter terrorism projects, to cooperation in the fight against piracy.
Cooperation in the NRC is based on the premise that NRC nations share many common security threats and challenges. Therefore, we can face them better together, by pooling expertise and resources. Already in 2002, the NRC Heads of State and Government identified a number of areas where it made sense to put our efforts together. Later, at the 2010 NRC Summit in Lisbon, they also endorsed the NRC Joint Review of 21st Century Common Security Challenges, a document which identifies additional key areas of common interest for NRC nations, and puts forward more suggestions for cooperative action on them. Together these documents provide a conceptual foundation for NRC cooperation and serve as an important platform for our NRC joint projects.
|NRC Helicopter Maintenance training for Afghan egineers is just one example of our practical cooperation on Afghanistan
Anniversary conference in Moscow
The NRC's Anniversary year has already been marked with a conference "NATO-Russia: Dialogue and Cooperation", co-organised with the NATO Information Office (NIO) in Moscow, in cooperation with the Centre for European Security (CES). Over 100 participants took part in a range of debates on the NRC's past, present and future. The Chairman of the NRC Preparatory Committee Ambassador Brengelmann said:
We have good reasons to be proud of building solid foundations for our partnership. The Founding Act of 1997 defined the key principles governing our relations. Dialogue, cooperation, transparency, not threatening the use of force against each other: these are all valid guidelines today which have stood the test of time. The Rome Declaration of 2002 built on this and established the NATO-Russia Council. And the political will to use the NRC is just as strong today as it was 10 years ago.