28.06.04 Chairman's Statement Meeting of the NATO-Russia Council at the level of Foreign Ministers, Istanbul, June 28, 2004

On 28 June 2004, Foreign Ministers of the NATO-Russia Council met in Istanbul. Taking stock of two years of accomplishments in the NRC framework, they reiterated their adherence to the goals, principles and commitments contained in the Founding Act, the Rome Declaration and past NRC decisions, and their determination to stand together against shared threats.

Ministers reaffirmed their desire to broaden NRC political dialogue, with a view to promoting common approaches and possible joint actions. In this context, they exchanged views on current international security issues, including the situations in Afghanistan, in the Balkans, and in Iraq, where they welcomed United Nations Security Council Resolution 1546 as paving the way for long-term stabilization, and declared their full support for the independence, sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity of Iraq.

Ministers also addressed the concrete, practical contributions made by the NATO-Russia Council to the security of the Euro-Atlantic area. In particular:

They expressed their solidarity in standing against the terrorist threat and took note of the broad-based cooperation that has been developed in this area in the NRC framework, in this context, they also welcomed Russia's offer to participate in maritime operations in the Mediterranean Sea in the framework of Operation Active Endeavour, and the decision in principle by the North Atlantic Council that Russia could provide support to this operation according to agreed procedures. They further agreed on the need to intensify efforts to curb the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.

Welcoming the success of the March 2004 Theatre Missile Defense (TMD) Command Post Exercise in Colorado Springs and noting the successful conclusion of the first phase of the NRC Interoperability Study on TMD, they agreed to initiate the second phase of this flagship NRC project.

They welcomed the results of the civil emergency planning and response exercise Kaliningrad 2004, hosted by Russia earlier this month. They also noted progress achieved in the implementation of the NRC chemical, biological and radiological protection capabilities initiative.

Ministers reviewed progress achieved in enhancing military-to-military cooperation and the interoperability of NATO and Russian forces. In this context, they welcomed the recent establishment of a Russian Military Liaison Branch Office at SHAPE and the enhancement of practical cooperation in this regard. They expressed support for the Afghan Transitional Authority (ATA) in the implementation of its National Drug Control Strategy and its defense and security sector reform efforts, as well as for relevant international efforts aimed at stopping the cultivation of opium poppies and the production and transit of narcotics. They agreed that NRC efforts to combat this threat should add value through practical contributions, and should avoid duplicating efforts underway in other international fora and bilaterally, and tasked the NATO-Russia Council at ambassadors' level with organizing a meeting, reinforced by appropriate national experts, to generate and develop possible concrete activities and ideas for practical cooperation.

June 29, 2004