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Cooperative security

19.07.2023 - Artikel

NATO is not just a defence alliance, it is also a platform for security cooperation. Cooperation with partners who are not members is essential given the current security situation.

The best way for NATO to guarantee Euro-Atlantic security is to build a broad network of like-minded partners. In today’s constantly-changing security environment, no country or organisation can meet the complex challenges by acting alone. Coordinated, multilateral action is required. NATO’s various partnership formats are intended to provide a framework for political dialogue and regional cooperation in the areas of security and defence, and to promote common values.

Currently, the Alliance has partnerships with some 36 states and international organisations, which are grouped into a variety of formats. These include

  • the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC), established in 1997: numerous partners also in Eastern European countries, including Georgia and Ukraine, countries in the Southern Caucasus, Central Asia and in the Balkans, and Western European countries such as Austria, Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland – as well as the 31 NATO member countries;
  • Mediterranean Dialogue (MD), established in 1994: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia;
  • The Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI), established in 2004: Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates;
  • Partners across the globe: cooperation programmes with Australia, Colombia, Iraq, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand and Pakistan; these programmes have been grouped under this format since 2010.

NATO has a special forum for cooperation with Ukraine, the NATO-Ukraine Commission, which was established in 1997, as well as for cooperation with Georgia, the NATO-Georgia Commission, which was established in 2008.

Following the start of the Ukraine crisis in April 2014 and in particular since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 and the ongoing Russian war of aggression, NATO has suspended close practical cooperation with Russia in the NATO-Russia Council, which was established in 1997.
Military channels of communication remain open, however.

Furthermore, since the Alliance’s Wales Summit in September 2014, in addition to the traditional, geographic partnership formats, there are two new, issue-related formats for cooperation. With the first format, the Interoperability Platform, the Alliance and its partners aim to improve their practical cooperation, especially in the area of crisis management. The second format is designed to assist selected partner countries who request support to build defence capabilities including, for example, reform of their security forces and institutions. Both initiatives bolster efforts to strengthen and enhance cooperation between NATO and its partners.

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