Speech by Sergey B. Ivanov at the 40th Munich Conference on Security Policy

Posted in Europe , NATO , Russia | 09-Feb-04 | Author: Sergey Ivanov

International Security in the Context of the Russia-NATO Relationship

Let me greet the audience and cordially thank Dr. Teltschik for his and that of his colleges contribution to perfect organizing of this 40th Conference!

It gives us valuable opportunity to synchronize our Stands on the most acute issues of the European and global security.

One of our common prior tasks today - creation of comprehensive, all-inclusive and efficient System for countering international terrorism.

First steps in right direction are done. Despite all difficulties, common efforts aimed at bolstering a stronger and broader international counter-terrorist alliance draw stronger and stronger support in the world.

However, the complexity of the modern world results in new issues that should be adequately answered. We all understand that one of the core issues in modern international affairs is that of admissibility of a unilateral use of force, undertaken by a State or a group of States without relevant UN SC mandate, first of all, to fight international terrorism.

I am convinced that the Russia-NATO partnership should fester such an environment in international relations, where the use of force among other things, for combating international terrorism, would exclusively proceed within the realm of international law. It is wrong to fight terrorism with illegal techniques, and it is next to impossible.

So, what has already been done recently, where do we stand now and what should be done next?

Today, one can witness substantial common success in implementation of the international counter-terrorist strategy - quoting nothing but e.g. defeating the Taleban rule and the core Al-Qaeda infrastructures in Afghanistan; successful joint Operation by Russian, US and British special and law-enforcement agencies to suppress an attempted IGLA manpads smuggling. We have also made progress in building up international control system designed to cut off financial fueling of terrorists.

Still, there are some worrying trends at hand. One could witness activation of world-wide terrorist structures. The "spill-over" of the Al-Qaeda cells, in the first place, to the Middle East region, a partial re-building of the combat potential by the Taleban movement in Afghanistan and Pakistan are all dangerous Symptoms corroborating those assessments.

The territory of Iraq has now turned into a real "magnet for terrorists" attracting all kinds of terrorist factions' members from the whole region of a "Wider Middle East".

Today, our need is to jointly search a way out of the Iraqi crisis. That is why we are interested in the success of the United States and their allies in Iraq, and are poised to closely cooperate in order to settle down the Situation in the region politically.

Now, a couple of words on Chechnya in this context. The Russian authorities have never tried to hide what have been really going on there. On the contrary, the goal has ever been to inform the world on difficult developments in this part of Russia.

As it is known, all big terrorist formations are destroyed in Chechnya. We have now moved on and launched a political process. The referendum took place there last year, and the Constitution of the Chechen Republic was adopted by over 80 per cent of the eligible voters. The Constitution clearly states the Republic of Chechnya as an integral part of the Russian Federation. Subsequently, the legitimate President has been voted into power roughly by the same vote percentage. Still to come: election of the Chechen Parliament and singing of a treaty between the Russian Federal Authorities and the Republic of Chechnya on sharing of powers, with wide autonomy rights for Chechnya.

Nevertheless, some scattered operative gunmen units comprising Arabs, Turks, and even some West European nationals are still acting in the mountainous parts of the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation and of Georgia. They reach over there by quite definite routes - we have more than once handed over to the countries involved reliable data, including copies of passports of slain mercenaries, with entry visas to Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, or Georgia.

These facts prove once again necessity of a deeper multi-dimensional and broader international cooperation to shut down the financial fueling of terrorist organizations and formations, wherever in the world they are trying to operate.

There is no doubt, the joint fight against international terrorism is not a unique sphere of the Russia-NATO cooperation. I am pleased to say that the Russia-NATO cooperation has outgrown the "adolescence" age.

Today the main goal is to transform the Russia-NATO Council
from a political interface, which is now playing a significant role in creating spirit of the present-day System of international relations, into a factor shaping practical actions both by Russia and the Alliance, in security matters.

A bigger number of practical joint activities is needed. Specifically, in the sphere of auxiliary security technologies (rescue and humanitarian relief operations, data sharing), but alongside basic dimensions of activities of the armed forces of Russia.

It is important to state a clear turn-around towards more practical work.

Substantial progress have been achieved in the field of TMD.

Last year we started enhancing interoperability of the Russian Armed Forces and of the NATO Allied Forces for joint actions. In 2003, moving along this track of cooperation, we held more than 20 activities, both in NATO member-states' territories and in Russia. We are ready to go ahead in cooperation, among other things, in organizing bilateral joint exercises with the "coalition of the willing" NATO States.

I would like to specially focus upon a renewed dialog between NATO and Russia on the SOFA. Status-of-Forces Agreement. We believe that such an agreement will lend an additional impetus to further cooperation in joint training and exercising, to command-staff and troops field exercises to be held at training centers located upon national territories.

The Framework Agreement on Submarine Emergency Crew Escape and Rescue, that was signed here in Munich a year ago is of exceptional importance for a better practical cooperation. It may seem to be purely technical, but in reality it has brought the Russia-NATO interaction up to quite a new practical level.

Yet another problem that needs to be addressed within the Russia-NATO cooperative framework is non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). I think that the Russia-NATO mechanism of interaction could turn into the right tool for substantial progress in that sphere. I find it important to tackle those cooperation issues - first at politico-military, thereafter - at military and technological level - to prevent terrorist attacks or following erroneous or accidental use of various WMD-components and to neutralize after-effects of such uses. Ultimately, the nature of threat posed by international terrorist organizations excludes efficient counteraction on a narrow nation-by-nation basis or even within the framework of such an organization as the NATO. Certainly, Russia and NATO should not be substitutes for either the UN or the IAEA. But now, I believe there is an ample opportunity to work out on the basis of the NATO-Russia Council Standards and technologies for crisis response and crisis prevention activities.

Insomuch as we can, we support the efforts in order to bring Pakistan into the fold of non-proliferation arrangements.

Military and technical, cooperation between the Russia and NATO,
regrettably, remains at its initial stage of development and is remarkably lagging behind, both in terms of its dynamics and deliverables, the ongoing joint programs in the in the military and political sphere. Still, to date, we judge the following cooperation prospects as promising ones:
  • technological support for programs outlined as priority ones in the Founding Act and the Rome Declaration, notably, including the TMD, soon-to-be-cut ammunition disposal and military hardware dismantlement;
  • Upgrade efforts, assuring serviceability and maintenance of Soviet-made arms and military equipment in Service with in NATO states;
We are deeply concerned in terms of nuclear safety with what had happened in Pakistan. We have now long and constantly been drawing the attention of the world community to the existent threat of proliferation of nuclear materials and related individual components of nuclear weaponry from that country. Now it became apparent, though I tend to agree with Dr. Al-Baradei, Director General of the IAEA, that (I quote) "It might be only a tip of the iceberg".

Insomuch as we can, we support the efforts in order to bring Pakistan into the fold of non-proliferation arrangements.

If we are to talk about defense industries, or - military and technical, cooperation between NATO and Russia,
regrettably, to date, it is still at its fetal stage of development and is markedly lagging behind, both in terms of its dynamics and deliverables, ongoing joint programs in the military and political sphere. Still, to date, we judge the following avenues for cooperation as promising ones -
  • technological support for programs outlined as priority efforts in the Founding Act and the Rome Declaration, notably, including TMD, soon-to-be-cut ammunition disposal and military hardware dismantlement;
  • Upgrade efforts and serviceability and maintenance of Soviet-made arms and military equipment in Service with NATO states;
  • participation of Russian experts on regular basis in activities organized by the NATO agencies and committees.
So far the Russia-NATO cooperation is not all rosy. >

The problem hindering further progress is actual Situation around the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty.

Russia has repeatedly stated that it has no Intention to postpone the Treaty ratification. A package of documents necessary for ratification of the Adapted CFE Treaty has been tabled by the Russian Government to the State Duma two years ago.

Unfortunately, there are some aspects in our partners' position that make us alerted. At the very first stages, we have been called upon, at any cost, to uphold and fulfill the flank limitations as under the CFE Treaty. We have done that despite uneasy Situation in the Southern Russia. But this step did not bring us closer to the ratification of the Adapted CFE Treaty - not by an inch.

Thereafter, we have been called upon to show extra transparency and furnish verifiable data as to the withdrawal of our forces from the territory of the North Caucasus, that could be reportable, after verification, to the parliaments of the CFE signatory-States. We have done a big deal of the requested too. But heals, it didn't propelled the ratification of the CFE Treaty.

Today, the so-called Istanbul political commitments are alleged to be a "stumbling block" for the ratification despite the fact that these commitments have nothing to do with the Treaty per se.

Anyone around is pretty well aware of that. So, it gives room for the question: is the CFE Treaty really remaining "corner-stone of the European security" and an efficient tool for assuring security in Europe? Or, might it be another "relic of the Cold War", as the ABM Treaty has been labeled some time ago? You remember, we were asked to modify it before, subsequently, it was shelved to the dust-bin.

There is an Impression that actual Situation around the Treaty is perceived by some people as beneficial, the Adapted CFE Treaty may well end up as the ABM Treaty was fated to.

At least, one thing is clear for us: the CFE regime in its actual form can not go on uphold stability and balance of interests of the signatory States amid actual military and political developments in Europe. Admission to the NATO of seven new members, with four of them staying out of the Treaty, finally makes the Treaty System of limitations imperfect, under-efficient, and cut off from the realities.

I would like to draw the attention of the Alliance representatives to the fact that, with the NATO enlargement, they Start operating in the zone of vitally important interests of our country.
They should - in deeds, not only by wording -take into account Russian concerns both in the political as well as in the security spheres, preempting, of course, the Alliance is truly striving for partnership. More transparency is required not only from Russia, but from the Alliance, too. For instance, we are told that the NATO infrastructures currently being set up in the Eastern Europe are aimed at heightening of the Alliance capabilities in the anti-terrorist fight. One could concede, some new facilities, say, in Romania or Bulgaria might be utilized as "hopping bases" for operations in the Near or Middle East. But who could kindly explain, to counter terrorism in what region specifically the new NATO military facilities in Poland and the Baltics are planned upon?

One should probably think of admission to those facilities of permanent monitoring groups of Russian military with appropriate technical assets, with a view to verify the fact that the ways of use of those facilities pose no threat to Russia. If things stand in respect of those facilities as we are told, then the presence of such groups will constitute a new element in foundations of mutual trust between Russia and NATO.

Certainly, we are not going to interfere into the Alliance membership expansion policies. We are not going to dictate our conditions upon the NATO invitees. But, as all other CFE Treaty member-States we possess and we intend to make full use thereof.

It would be opportune to remind that previous 5 years, starting from 1999, we have been fulfilling our unilateral commitments on restraint in stationing of the by Treaty-limited military equipment and armaments in the Kaliningrad and Pskov Regions, as well as in the territory of the Leningrad Military District.

During that time, the overall actual availability of the Russian by Treaty-limited conventional equipment and armaments in the regions mentioned above has been cut down by 700 pieces. We have assumed those commitments in a definite military and political environment. With the admission of the invitees to NATO, this environment will drastically change.

To be sincere - weakening of the control regimes over conventional arms in Europe is not consistent with the interests of the Russian national security, but is neither an irreparable loss to it, as someone may think it might be. We have an inventory of assets and techniques sufficient to uphold our interests, as well as to ensure our national security.

As for the transatlantic community and international security, this is a momentous loss. The "back-up" mechanisms for promoting stability and international security in the shape of various armaments control regimes will never be redundant for the international community.

It may be put straightforward - instead of exercising a continued head-on pressure upon Russia in view to stir her up to quicker fulfillment of the Istanbul commitments, a wide-range discussion should have been started on a possible new System of arms control and confidence-building measures, which would proceed from new realities.

The Russia-NATO partnership interface we have in place is an adequate Instrument for preparing a mandate of future negotiations and elaborating a base-line framework approaches towards a new System.

Now to a general picture of the military presence reconfiguration effort currently underway in the transatlantic area.
We are fully aware that planning a realignment effort is a must of time. The world undergoes fast-paced changes. New threats and challenges make substantially correct the whole defense planning and specifically the networking of the military bases.

At the same time, we all recognize the fact that emerging threats and challenges demand from us a common response and concerted action to ward them off.

Certainly, we reserve the right to evaluate each of the elements of such a reconfiguration effort both the international law-wise, from the perspective of arms control commitments and from the standpoint of consistency of such actions with the Russian security interests. In our eyes, the principle of indivisible security shall exist in real life, and not only in wording. We are prepared to discuss this issue in an open-minded and constructive way, with respect of security concerns of all the States involved, and international law.

From our perspective, for deeper and wider cooperation with Russia, the NATO leadership would focus upon the two key issues in their policies:
  • first, on implementation of the principle of transparency in military policy-making and military planning;
  • second, on giving up with the Alliance-centric principle for major operations.
I would say few words at length on those circumstances.

On the first issue. Russia is transparent on the matters related to its military policies. I would only like to mention the document entitled "The Actual Tasks for Development of the Russian Armed Forces". This document makes quite a lot in Russian military planning transparent both to the Russian public and to our partners. I hope very much that the Alliance will invariably reciprocate with the same high degree of openness.

On the second issue. Currently, NATO is engaged in a whole number of operations of global importance. In the first place, I hereby mean the Operation for security assistance in Afghanistan (ISAF).

However, I cannot but say that following the of the Operation in Afghanistan, this State has once again turned into a major source of drug trafficking which crosses the CIS and Russia on to the Western Europe. It is understandable that by allowing drug peddling in Afghanistan the Alliance ensures loyalty of warlords on the ground and of some Afghan leaders. Nevertheless, the drug flow from Afghanistan is posing a serious threat to the national security of a number of Central Asian CIS States and Russia. It results from the absence of a truly international approach towards stabilization in Afghanistan. This is wrong.

The NATO is de-facto a globally operating force, and it shall bear global responsibility for its actions. It would be wise to think on creation, within the Russia-NATO cooperation framework, of a joint group, with participation of not only Russia and the Alliance but other CIS States - to counter drug-trafficking from Afghanistan and oversee the developments as they unfold. Ultimately, the Situation where international terrorist communities merge with drug lords and organized crime (we witness such Symptoms not only in Afghanistan but in Kosovo, too) is extremely precarious.

One of major priorities of the Russian foreign policy is our relationship with the closest neighbors - countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Russia and the CIS States are linked by common history, robust economic, cultural, and civilization bonds. In the CIS region Russia has vitally important interests - in economy, defense, security, civic rights, support of the compatriots. Russia renders substantial assistance to all of her Commonwealth neighbors - either directly or indirectly. These facts are numerous. That is why the good-neighborly relations with the CIS States are in no way a hallmark of Russian-brand "neo-imperialism", as some try to depict it, but an imperative for security and stability of Russia and ultimately - they represent the most important stability and security factor over the vast area of Eurasia.

In conclusion, I would like to express my hope that the civilized world community will reach out to a new quality level of cooperation and equitable interaction, and will find efficient international mechanisms to defy all the challenges we face today. We all need, with due respect of national interests of each and every State, to do as much as we can to strengthen stability and international security for the sake of all of the States and nations. Russia is prepared to take the most active part in this process.

Thank you.

The spoken word is applicable!