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HomeDOCUMENTSARCHIVE: Russia and Ukraine2002 - 2003CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS: NATO-Russia (2003)

CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS: NATO-Russia (2003)

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8 February 2003

NATO and Russia signed an agreement on mutual help and co-operation in the area of submarine crew search and rescue at sea.

NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson and Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov signed an agreement at the Munich Conference on Security Policy. It specifies that NATO and Russia will work to standardise search and rescue procedures, collaborate in developing the necessary equipment, exchange relevant information and conduct joint exercises.

21 March, 8 April, 22 April 2003

NATO-Russia Center for the Retraining of Discharged Military Personnel opened three regional centres in St. Petersburg (8 April), Yaroslavl (21 March) and Chita (22 April).

10-11 April 2003

NATO PA held a joint meeting with the Russian parliament to discuss NATO-Russia relations and the global security situation. The meeting took place in St. Petersburg. (For more information, please look at the NATO PA Activities).

13 May 2003

NATO-Russia Council (NRC) met in Moscow for the first time. Ambassadors discussed the progress made in NRC, particularly terrorist threat assessments, agreement of political modalities for future NATO -Russian peacekeeping operations and a planned procedural exercise to address these modalities. Ambassadors also discussed non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, international crisis reaction, coordinated rescue operations at sea, defence reform and military cooperation, and the situation in Afghanistan. Robertson told ORT on 13 May that the main result of the NATO-Russia Council session might be an agreement to develop a European theatre missile-defence system.

The NRC members also met with the members of the Russian Federal Assembly to discuss NATO-Russia cooperation.

4 June 2003

Foreign Ministers of the NATO-Russia Council met in Madrid. Ministers welcomed results of the NRC's work: a detailed threat assessment on the terrorist threat to the Euro-Atlantic area, NATO-Russia initiative for combating terrorism through civil science; approval of political modalities for possible future NRC peacekeeping operations and the launch of a procedural exercise to address these modalities; continued exchange of views on peacekeeping issues, and in particular, the intention of holding a seminar in Berlin in the autumn on enhancing interoperability in peacekeeping through training and education.

Ministers also welcomed progress achieved in non-proliferation, arms control and confidence building measures. They reaffirmed adherence to the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) as a cornerstone of European security and agreed to continue to work cooperatively toward ratification by all the States Parties and entry into force of the Agreement on Adaptation of the CFE Treaty, which would permit accession by non-CFE states.


Ministers discussed the implementation of the NATO-Russia Nuclear Experts Consultations Work Plan, with a focus on activities related to nuclear weapons safety and security.
In theatre missile defence, Ministers welcomed the progress that had been made in developing a common terminology and conceptual basis for potential future TMD deployments to support a Crisis Response Operation (CRO) involving NATO and Russian forces

In search and rescue at sea, Ministers welcomed the signature of the NATO-Russia Framework Agreement on Submarine Crew Escape and Rescue, and reaffirmed their commitment to enhanced cooperation in search and rescue at sea.

In military-to-military cooperation, it was decided to intensify NRC cooperation in military training and exercises. The NRC Chiefs of Defence and General Staff at their meeting in Brussels on 13 May developed a joint four-phase exercise and training programme.

In defence reform, Ministers welcomed the decision to develop cooperation on defence reform and evolution of the military, the management of human and financial resources, managing consequences of defence reform and the reform of defence industries.

In civil emergencies, the NRC work will concentrate initially on the three areas of enhanced interoperability, improving procedures and intensified sharing of information, expertise and experiences.

On new threats and challenges, there was significant progress in scientific cooperation: advanced training in environmental protection, re-use of former military lands, improving the quality of water adjacent to military sites and environmentally friendly industrial technologies.

On the NRC Cooperative Airspace Initiative, Ministers discusses the early stages of development of a feasibility study to identify possible solutions for the reciprocal exchange of data on civil and military air traffic.

13 June 2003

The NATO-Russia Council met in Defence Ministerial session in Brussels.
Russia proposed to establish a Military Liaison Mission at SHAPE. Ministers agreed on the need to conclude a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), in the framework of Partnership for Peace, to facilitate and strengthen military cooperation.

On cooperation against terrorism, it was agreed to organise a further conference at senior level to address progress.

On defence reform, it was agreed to develop measures to enhance transparency in defence planning and military transformation, and to expand personnel exchanges. Ministers called for further exchanges on the financial and budgetary aspects of defence reform and encouraged further practical work on military-technical cooperation.

Ministers noted Russia's decision to withdraw its military forces from SFOR and KFOR.

23 July 2003

The NATO-Russia Council met in Brussels to discuss the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Ambassadors made a statement, calling on Bosnia and Herzegovina to ensure that the Presidency has at its disposal the mechanisms and resources necessary to carry out its responsibilities - a state level ministry responsible for defence matters and a general staff should be created; the armed forces should be prepared to fulfil their missions, including the protection of the

Sovereignty and territorial integrity of BiH, they should also contribute to internationally sanctioned multinational Peace Support Operations, as well as to assist civil authorities in BiH; and the defence committee at the state level should be created to ensure that defence plans and budgets are subject to transparency and parliamentary oversight.
Ambassadors expressed their full support for the efforts of OHR, the OSCE and SFOR to facilitate these reforms, and in particular the recent establishment of the Defence Reform Commission (DRC).

15 October 2003

The NRC Ambassadors met in Brussels. They identified military-to-military cooperation and defence reform as priority areas in NATO-Russia cooperation. They also welcomed the progress achieved by the NATO-Russia Information, Consultation and Training Centre in Moscow, which was founded in June 2001 to assist in the resettlement of Russian military personnel who have been discharged from the Russian Armed Forces. 210 trainers have graduated from the Centre since 2001. The Centre established a central website in Moscow and six regional websites, providing information on employment, housing, professional retraining, small business development and other important topics; it initiated training of 200 students in such important professional fields as computer techniques, management and accounting; it developed and distributed educational and training material; and organised six seminars on retraining over the last eighteen months in different regions of Russia.

29-30 October 2003

Lord Robertson, the Secretary General of NATO, went to Moscow to meet with President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov, as well as with members of the Duma. Lord Robertson also visited a Russian military unit and delivered an address at international conference devoted to NATO-Russia relations.

1-2 December 2003

NRC Defence Ministers met to review progress in the defence and military field, and to set goals for the future. They highlighted significant achievements of cooperation, in particular in the fight against terrorism, defence reform, military-to-military cooperation, civil emergency planning, non-proliferation, theatre missile defence and airspace management. They stressed that improving interoperability was a key priority in order to increase the capability of NATO and Russian forces to act together.

Ministers also welcomed the establishment of a direct, secure telephone communication link between the NATO Secretary General, who is also Chairman of the NRC, and the Russian Minister of Defence.

Russia invited the NRC countries to observe a field exercise on safe handling procedures for nuclear weapons, as part of the ongoing consultations on nuclear weapons issues and implementation of the NATO-Russia Nuclear Experts' Consultations Work Plan for 2004.

Ministers welcomed the proposal to conduct a NATO-Russia procedural exercise designed to address the Political Aspects of a Generic Concept of Joint NATO-Russia Peacekeeping Operations and the development of an experimental TMD concept, Concept of Operations, and the conduct of a Command Post Exercise scheduled in early 2004, and stressed the importance of a joint interoperability study launched this year, which will analyse and evaluate possible levels of interoperability of TMD systems.

Ministers agreed to develop measures to enhance transparency in defence planning and force structures and to address jointly ongoing efforts at development and modernisation of their armed forces. They agreed to explore what instruments could be used to increase the interoperability and deployability for joint operations of NATO and Russian forces.

Ministers welcomed the Exercise and Training Programme agreed for 2004 and beyond under the direction and oversight of the NATO Chiefs of Defence Staff and the Chief of the Russian General Staff, as well as the practical activities agreed in the framework of the 2004 Work Programme on Cooperation on Search and Rescue at Sea. They also welcomed the imminent start of discussions on the development of protocols for visits by NATO and Russian naval units to each other's ports.

4-5 December 2003

NRC Foreign Ministers met in Brussels. Russia offered to provide practical support to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. Ministers approved the NRC Work Programme for 2004.
Ministers reiterated their determination to continue to work co-operatively toward ratification and entry into force of the adapted CFE Treaty. They thanked Lord Robertson of Port Ellen for his important contribution in establishing a new quality of relations between NATO member states and Russia and expressed confidence that the new Chairman of the NATO-Russia Council, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, will continue to carry forward this relationship and build on the NRC's record of success.
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