Aware that dialogue with political leaders in Russia and Ukraine is essential to confidence building in Europe, the Assembly has also forged strong working relationships with the Russian Duma and Federation Council and the Ukrainian Rada. NATO governments themselves recognised the value of these ties when first in the Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Co-operation and Security between the Russian Federation and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, signed on May 1997, and then in the NATO-Ukraine Charter signed in July 1997, they explicitly called upon the Assembly to expand even further its dialogue and co-operation with both the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and the Ukrainian Rada.
Accordingly, at the NATO PA's Spring session in May 1998 in Barcelona, the leadership of the NATO PA and a delegation from the Russian Federal Assembly agreed to establish a joint parliamentary group to monitor the implementation of the NATO-Russia Founding Act as well as the workings of the Permanent Joint Council (PJC) and its subordinate groups.
The creation of the Joint Monitoring Group thus provided a vital means to ensure transparency of the Permanent Joint Council and helped focus in a positive manner the burgeoning dialogue between NATO and Russian parliamentarians.
Following the creation of the NATO-Russia Council in May 2002, the Assembly and the Russian delegation agreed that this structure should be reflected at the parliamentary level. They therefore created the NATO-Russia parliamentary Committee (NRPC) This group, which met for the first time in November 2002 currently brings together the leaders of the 28 NATO member delegations and the leaders of the Russian Federal Assembly delegation in a format "at 29". Chaired by the Assembly's President, this body oversees the relationship between the Assembly and the Russian Federal Assembly and holds substantive discussions on relevant issues of common interest.
While Russia’s military intervention in Georgia in August 2008 and its recognition of Georgia’s provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent led to serious strains in the Assembly’s relations with the Russian Parliament, dialogue within the NRPC was maintained, providing a useful forum for parliamentarians from NATO countries and from Russia to share views, including on those issues – such as Georgia – on which they disagreed.
The relationship between the NATO PA and the Russian Federal Assembly is by no means confined to the NATO-Russia parliamentary Committee.
The Russian Federal Assembly has a 10 person delegation that participates in the Assembly's two Sessions each year, and members of this delegation are active participants in many Assembly Committee and Sub-Committee meetings, and seminars.
Russian delegation members
The Ukrainian delegation to the Assembly is similarly active, with members participating in a wide range of Assembly activities. The Ukraine-NATO Inter-parliamentary Council (UNIC), the parliamentary counterpart to the NATO-Ukraine Commission, provides a dedicated forum for relations between the Assembly and Ukrainian Parliament. The Council, composed of representatives from each of the Assembly's committees and leading members of the Verkhovna Rada, meets each year in both Brussels and Kyiv to examine the implementation of the NATO-Ukraine Charter and to discuss all aspects of the NATO-Ukraine relationship. In addition, there is usually one Committee or Sub-Committee visit to Kiev each year.
The Assembly co-operated with NATO and the Geneva Center for Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) to organize a series of seminars for Ukrainian parliamentarians on various aspects of civil-military relations, Ukraine has hosted several Rose-Roth seminars.
Remarkably, since the contested presidential elections of 2004 which triggered Ukraine’s “Orange Revolution”, the Assembly has been invited to monitor all presidential and parliamentary elections in the country. The Assembly has joined efforts with the Parliamentary Assemblies of the OSCE and the Council of Europe, the European Parliament and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, ensuring that Ukrainian citizens could elect their leaders in a free and fair manner. Through its participation in election observation, the Assembly continues to demonstrate its attachment to Ukraine’s democratic transition.
| MEMBRES OF THE UNIC|