Formal NATO-Russia Relations 

A. Official Documents and Declarations
     I. Background
       1. The NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council (PJC)
       2. The NATO-Russia Council
     II. Areas of Co-operation between NATO and Russia
       1. Partnership for Peace Programme (PfP) 
       2. Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) 
       3. NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council (PJC) 
     III. Sources of Disagreement
       1. Non-authorised Use of Force 
B. Selected Speeches
C. Research Studies
D. Parliamentary Reports

A. Official Documents and Declarations

I. Background

1. The NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council (PJC)

Formal contacts between NATO and Russia began within the framework of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (later re-named Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council) in 1991, and were supplemented later with Russia's accession to the Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme on June 22nd, 1994. 

While Russia continues to participate in the meetings of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, it is the Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security between NATO and the Russian Federation, (in the following referred to as 'Founding Act') signed in May 1997 that constitutes the main forum for NATO-Russia relations. While this document institutionalised regular contacts in the form of a Permanent Joint Council (PJC), it falls short of being an international treaty and is therefore not legally binding. 

A few months later, NATO signed a similar document with the Ukraine, entitled the Charter on a Distinctive Partnership between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Ukraine. See the archive on Formal NATO-Ukraine Relations.

The Founding Act expands substantially the scope of co-operation between NATO and Russia. However, the opportunities for co-operation opened by this document have not been fully optimised due to what can be described as diverging interpretations of its provisions by both sides. Contacts were interrupted by Russia for the period of almost a year in protest of NATO's intervention in Yugoslavia. Click here for the joint statement issued on the resumption of co-operation in February 2000.

2. The NATO-Russia Council 

Initiated by the firm Russian cooperation concerning the fight against terrorism after September 11th, a closer cooperation seems to be underway. One aspect to be mentioned is the NATO-Russia scientific cooperation to reduce the impact of terrorism, which got underway in October 2001. In November 2001, UK Prime Minister Blair proposed to further deepen ties between NATO and the Russian Federation in a letter to Russian President Putin, Secretary General Robertson and the heads of the NATO member states. The Russian administration reacted favorable and the initiative also gained support from various Alliance members. 

In a press statement after the meeting of the NATO Foreign Ministers in December 2001, NATO-Secretary General Lord Robertson announced the creation of a new NATO-Russia body in the following months that will allow both parties "to work ”at 20” on issues where we have a common interest." 

Russia's Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov announced during an April 15 speech, that both sides intended to finish their negotiations on the new body in time for the Reykjavik NATO-Russia Ministerial. At the Ministerial the completion of the document was announced in a NATO Press Release on the NATO Russia Permanent Joint Council Ministerial. The document itself, a Declaration by the Heads of State and Government entitled "NATO-Russia Relations: A New Quality", was signed during a May 28th NATO-Russia Summit held in Italy.

The document announces the formation of the NATO-Russia Council, a body to work by consensus. Thus it provides for the option of preparing and making decision at 20, i.e. with Russia as an equal partner. The Council's predecessor, the Permanent Joint Council did not allow for this. However, since the agenda for the meetings of the new council needs to be agreed by consensus as well, NATO will keep the sole authority to prepare and make all decisions considered to not require consultations or cooperation with Russia. On the other hand, Russia and each individual NATO member state can propose issues to be discussed in the council or veto discussions. The Council will meet and create sub-bodies on both the political and the military level. 

II. Areas of Co-operation Between NATO and Russia

1. Co-operation within the Framework of the Partnership for Peace Programme (PfP)

Click here to see the PfP Framework Document describing the activities of this programme. 
The PfP issues a Work Programme on an annual basis: The objectives for the defined time period are laid out in the Partnership Work Programme for 2000-2001, Generic Section, June 16th, 1999. To see Work Programmes on the specific activities including the one for 2000-2001, click here. The latter Work Programmes list all activities offered by NATO bodies, NATO nations and Partner nations in the framework of PfP. It should be noted that Russia's Individual Partnership Programme is discussed in the Permanent Joint Council. 

1.1 Peacekeeping

NATO-Russia co-operation in peacekeeping activities takes place under the PfP Programme

a) Bosnia-Herzegovina 

Co-operation between NATO and Russian troops in the peacekeeping forces set up in Bosnia and Herzegovina (IFOR/SFOR) was established by the Dayton Peace Agreement.

b) Kosovo 

The basis for NATO-Russian co-operation in the peacekeeping force deployed in Kosovo (KFOR) is UNSC Resolution 1244. Click here to see the Agreement on Russian Participation

2. Co-operation within the Framework of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC)

The EAPC, set up in 1997 to succeed the North Atlantic Cooperation Council, meets both at the level of ambassadors and of Foreign and Defence Ministers. In April 1999 the Heads of State met at the EAPC Summit in Washington. One of the documents adopted at the summit was Towards a Partnership for the 21st Century - the Enhanced and More Operational Partnership.

Click here for the Action Plans of the EAPC: 

3. Co-operation within the Framework of the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council (PJC)

In the Founding Act, following areas were designated as objects of consultation and co-operation in the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council. Although the possibility to expand the list of issues was left open, internal matters are explicitly excluded from this forum. 

3.1. Arms Control

Click here for a selection of documents related to arms control beginning with the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) from November 19th, 1990.

For more information see FAS website
or the NRA website on the CFE

3.2. Civil Emergency Planning / Search and Rescue 

A Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Center and a Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Unit were established in May 1998. Further, the field of search and rescue at sea has been lately identified as a new area of co-operation. 

3.3. Scientific Co-operation 

A Memorandum of Understanding on Scientific Co-operation between NATO and Russia was signed in May 1998. 

3.4. Environmental Issues

Negotiations on a Memorandum of Understanding on Environmental Protection are underway. 

Click here for information on NATO-Russia co-operation in the framework of the Programme: "The challenges of modern society"

3.5. Co-operation on Search and Rescue at Sea

A Work Programme which is not yet available to the public was agreed upon on December 5th, 2000. 

3.6. Combating Terrorism

While already mentioned in the Founding Act, this area of cooperation really took off after the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11th. Russia's support after the attacks and its own ongoing military engagement in Chechnya, which is declared as counterterrorist campaign, provided sufficient reason for a closer cooperation. This was first mirrored in the extraordinary PJC-meeting declaration on September 13th, 2001 and has been a topic in all following meetings. 

Additionally, there has been ad-hoc senior level NATO-Russia Consultations on Combating Terrorism in Brussels on October 2nd, 2001. These consultations had their follow-up on January 28th, 2002, where the participants agreed on continuing these consultations on a regular basis. The press statement further names the initiatives already launched: regular exchange of information and consultation on issues relating to terrorist threats, the prevention of the use by terrorists of ballistic missile technology and nuclear, biological and chemical agents, civil emergency planning, and the exploration of the role of the military in combating terrorism. 

  • Later at the Ministerial on December 18th, 2001, the defence ministers agreed to the holding of a NATO-Russia conference on the military role in combating terrorism. This conference took place at the NATO Defense College in Rome on February 4th, 2002. Topics of the panels were the role of the military in defending against and combating terrorist operations, its role in preventing and managing the consequences of terrorism, and the adaptation of armed forces for terrorist threats. This meeting did not produce a publication or a press statement; only two keynote addresses by the NATO Secretary-General and the Russian Minister of Defence were published. Both deal with the characteristics and trends of modern terrorism and stress the need for international cooperation. The Secretary-General also gives some ideas of the points discussed at the meeting. 
  • 3.7. Further Issues

    The creation of a joint NATO-Russia Information and Consultation Center on Retraining of Discharged Military Personnel was agreed upon in 1998. 

    III. Sources of Disagreement

    1. Non-authorised Use of Force

    Refraining from the use of force was one of the principles reaffirmed in the Founding Act. However, the Alliance's Strategic Concept, which was agreed upon two years after the signing of the Act, does not explicitly bind NATO actions to a UN Security Council mandate. 
    Click here for the general position of the Russian Federation on unauthorised use of force in its Concept of Foreign Relations. 

    a) Kosovo 

    b) Iraq 

    List of Meetings of the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council:

    Check here for Permanent Joint Council (PJC) declarations. Please note that not every PJC meeting held produced a public press statement. 

    On 28 May 2002, the PJC was replaced by the NATO-Russia Council. The declarations of the new body are listed below.


    List of meetings at parliamentary level:


    B. Selected Speeches on the NATO-Russia Relationship


    C. Research Studies


    D. Parliamentary Reports