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Department of Defense
Office of International Security Affairs

United States Security Strategy for Europe and NATO


Cooperation with Russia

Another key element in the new architecture is strengthening cooperation with Russia. Russia is preeminent by its size, geostrategic importance, and military potential among the states emerging from communist tyranny, and is sure to have a major influence on Europe's security. An active and constructive security relationship with Russia is critical to building a stable European future. If the West is to create an enduring and stable security framework for Europe, it must solve the enduring
strategic problem of integrating the former communist states, especially Russia, into a stable European security system.

To this end, the United States and its allies are pursuing strengthened relations with Russia on a bilateral basis, as well as in various multinational fora. Russia is already involved in most aspects of the emerging architecture. It participates actively in the OSCE and worked closely with the United States in upgrading that organization. Russia has signed an ambitious partnership agreement with the EU. It is a candidate for membership in the Council of Europe and the OECD. The United States supports deeper Russian participation in the Group of 7 industrialized nations and is sponsoring Russia's membership in the World Trade Organization, successor to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. For the first time since 1945, Russia is participating, as a member of the Contact Group on Bosnia, in a multinational negotiating team presenting a unified position on a difficult European security issue.

As part of these European ties, the United States and its NATO allies have agreed with Russia to develop relations between the Alliance and Russia, in parallel to NATO expansion, both within PFP and outside it. The need for a special effort toward Russia is inherent in Russia's importance in European security. Indeed, if NATO expansion and PFP are to succeed in their goal of helping to ensure a more stable and secure Europe for all Europeans, a close, enduring, and cooperative relationship between NATO and Russia is absolutely essential. Of course, we face challenges in defining and developing this relationship. Although Russia has joined PFP, many Russians still harbor a negative attitude toward NATO and its policies. This reaction reflects Russian misconceptions concerning NATO's process of
enlargement, and historical habits of regarding NATO as Russia's "enemy." Through cooperation with NATO, Russia will see that the Alliance is no enemy, that a stable Central Europe is in Russia's interest, and that the United States and its allies are working to avoid the divisions that existed in the past.

The first steps in building a new NATO- Russia relationship have already been agreed to in principle -- active Russian participation in PFP commensurate with that nation's importance and capabilities, and implementation of the plan for cooperation in a wide range of areas outside PFP. Beyond that, we are considering how we could establish a new longer-term NATO-Russia relationship in time, through some type of formal agreement. The precise nature of such an agreement, as to form and content, remains to be determined. It could well involve substantially enhanced consultation procedures on issues affecting European security. It would also likely involve mutual guarantees of peaceful relations. In the months ahead, we hope the Alliance and Russia can achieve an understanding on the direction in which the
NATO-Russian relationship should evolve.

The goal of such an arrangement will be to ensure, without compromising either NATO's or Russia's right of independent decision, that each is fully aware of the other's concerns and that there are no "surprises" on issues of mutual concern. We intend to develop such an arrangement in parallel with progress on NATO enlargement. However, neither Russia nor any other nation outside the Alliance will have a veto over that process. Enlargement and development of the NATO-Russia relationship are complementary yet separate priorities.