NATO-Russia relations formally began in 1991 at the opening session of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (later renamed the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council), which was created following the end of the Cold War as a forum for consultation to promote a new cooperative relationship with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. In 1994, Russia joined the Partnership for Peace. In 1996, Russian peacekeepers deployed to Bosnia and Herzegovina to serve alongside Allied counterparts in the NATO-led peacekeeping force. The Russian contribution was the largest non-NATO contingent in force. In May 1997, in Paris, the NATO-Russia Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security was signed, providing the formal basis for NATO-Russia relations. It expressed the common goal of building a lasting and inclusive peace in the Euro-Atlantic area. The Permanent Joint Council (PJC) was set as a forum for regular consultation on security issues of common concern. NATO member states and Russia regularly consult on current security issues and are developing practical cooperation in a large scope of areas of common interest. Much progress was made over the next five years in building mutual confidence. In particular, practical military cooperation in Bosnia and Herzegovina helped foster mutual trust and confidence between NATO countries and Russia. The NATO-Russia Council (NRC) was founded in May 2002 as the basic forum for promoting NATO-Russia relations, in which the 26 Allies and Russia work together as equal partners to identify and pursue opportunities for joint action. The NATO-Russia Council is the principal structure and scene for advancing the relationship between NATO and Russia. It has created several working groups and committees to develop cooperation in key areas. The decision to establish the NRC was taken as a result of the September 2001 terrorist attacks, which intensified the need for coordinated action to respond to common threats. It expressed the determination to give the NATO-Russia partnership new impulse and substance, and demonstrated the decision of NATO member states and Russia to work more closely together towards the common goal of building a lasting and inclusive peace in the Euro-Atlantic Area. This goal was first expressed in the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security, which provides the formal basis for NATO-Russia relations. The Allies and Russia will not always agree on everything and differences remain on some issues. However it is clear that they share strategic priorities and face common challenges. In the framework of the NRC, Russia and NATO member states are developing a continuous political dialogue on current security issues. Constructive political consultations have been held on many issues, e.g. the situation in Afghanistan, Serbia and Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina or Georgia. Practical cooperation is already generating concrete benefits in many key areas.

Last modified: Friday, 4 February 2011, 1:32 PM