TRANSCRIPT OF RUSSIAN MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS IGOR IVANOV REMARKS AT JOINT PRESS CONFERENCE FOLLOWING TALKS WITH NATO SECRETARY GENERAL GEORGE ROBERTSON, BRUSSELS, APRIL 15, 2002
Unofficial translation from Russian
Foreign Minister Ivanov: First of all I would like to thank the NATO Secretary General for the constructive dialogue which we held today. The focus of our talk was, naturally, questions relating to the creation of a new format of Russia-NATO relations. I support the opinion of the Secretary General that these documents to a significant extent are already prepared. Work by experts on them still lies ahead, but we do believe that it is quite realistic to complete it by the foreign ministers meeting to be held in Reykjavik on May 14, 2002. At least, we are exerting efforts toward this.
Moscow attaches great importance to the creation of a Russia-NATO Council which will signify a new character of partner relations between the NATO member states and Russia in accomplishing the common tasks of security. The adoption of those documents at the highest level, of course, would underline the role which our countries assign to the formation of the new partner relations between Russia and NATO in the interests of European and world security. As the NATO Secretary General noted, we have already accumulated some experience of such cooperation in Bosnia and Kosovo and in solving a number of other questions. We are confident that the creation of the Russia-NATO Council will give these relations a qualitatively new level.
Question: Have today's talks advanced the preparations for the meeting in Reykjavik?
Foreign Minister Ivanov: Today's talks enabled us to check our watches and see for ourselves that the documents on which the work is going on will be ready by the ministerial meeting in Reykjavik.
Question: Igor Sergeyevich, what will the new mechanisms of Russia-NATO cooperation look like?
Foreign Minister Ivanov: The Russia-NATO Council presupposes the creation of a mechanism in which the NATO countries and Russia will on an equal basis participate in the discussion, adoption and execution of decisions. This is not a consultative mechanism. It is a mechanism making decisions and implementing them in practice.
Question: The 1997 Russia-NATO Founding Act includes also provisions which so far have not been put into effect. As a matter of fact it has not been implemented in full. What guarantees does the new format of Russia-NATO relations give that this document will be implemented?
Foreign Minister Ivanov: The Founding Act and the principles which are set into it remain valid. The new mechanism is bound to help realize these principles in practice.
Question: Will Russia's opinion about the NATO expansion change after the creation of the new Council at 20?
Foreign Minister Ivanov: So far as the NATO expansion is concerned, our stand on this question remains unchanged. At the same time, by creating the Russia-NATO Council which will be a mechanism for equal cooperation, we suggest a new alternative of solving the questions of European security with due consideration for the present-day realities.
April 16, 2002