The Foreign Ministers of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) met today in Brussels, fifteen years since the Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security, and ten years since the Rome Declaration on NATO-Russia Relations, to take stock of progress achieved through continued cooperation and dialogue and to move forward on remaining differences.
Ministers reaffirmed all the principles and commitments contained in the NRC Lisbon Summit Joint Statement, the Rome Declaration and the Founding Act.
NRC nations share important common interests and face common security challenges that can be best addressed jointly. As agreed by the NRC Heads of State and Government in Lisbon, Ministers continued discussions on pursuing missile defence cooperation. They agreed that the stability of Afghanistan remains vital for all of us. They welcomed that the NRC has trained 2,000 counter-narcotics personnel from Afghanistan and its neighbours, and that Afghan helicopter technicians are being trained and spare parts will be provided in support of the Afghan Air Force. The two-way transit arrangements, in accordance with UNSC Resolution 1386, are an important contribution to the ISAF mission. Ministers looked forward to further cooperation on Afghanistan, including by taking into account the activities of relevant regional actors.
Ministers also welcomed the important civilian-military counter-terrorism exercise held last month. The Cooperative Airspace Initiative, a joint system for air traffic coordination, is ready for operations. Interoperability between NATO and Russian ships off the Horn of Africa has improved. With the aim of further building confidence, Ministers agreed to conduct discussions and plan, as appropriate, activities related to defence reform, nuclear doctrines and strategies, and force development and posture. They also exchanged views on improving transparency, including on military exercises. Ministers looked forward to discussions on possible ways for NRC member states to assist each other in case of terrorist attacks, natural and man-made disasters, pirate attacks and other emergency situations. They noted interest expressed in exchanging views on cyber security and in discussing opportunities for military-technical cooperation. Ministers agreed to continue to work together on an ambitious cooperative agenda and looked forward to exploring new areas of co-operation.
Ministers also discussed existing differences on key issues. They reiterated that they valued the NATO-Russia Council as a forum for political dialogue at all times and on all issues, including those where NRC member states disagree. Ministers agreed to build on their improved relations to reach the full potential of the NRC and underscored that it is through continued dialogue and transparency on all of our concerns that the NATO‑Russia relationship will be further strengthened, which would also enhance Euro‑Atlantic security as a whole.