|Participation of the Republic of Serbia in the Partnership for Peace Programme|
|+ larger fontnormal font- Smaller font|
Partnership for Peace programme is the most important NATO initiative, formally initiated in 1994, designed to reinforce trust and cooperation among members of the Alliance and other Euro-Atlantic States with a view to developing and strengthening stability and security in Europe and beyond. The protection and promotion of fundamental freedoms and basic human rights, as well as preservation of freedom, justice and peace through democracy, represent the common values on which the Partnership is built and they are compatible with the values of other international and regional organizations - United Nations, OSCE, Council of Europe, European Union and others.
Partnership for Peace is a programme of bilateral cooperation between NATO as a whole and its individual Member States, which is based on the principles of voluntarity, flexibility and transparency. The Programme for each participating country is individual and specific. Participants of the Programme independently decide on the level, content and dynamic of partner cooperation, in line with their sovereign rights, national interests, needs and requirements. Although its main focus is on the development of defence cooperation, its political dimension is also very significant as an important factor of the European security architecture. In acceding to the Partnership for Peace, the States affirm their commitment to honour in good faith the obligations arising from the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, especially to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, to respect the existing borders and to resolve mutual problems by peaceful means. They also affirm their commitment to the Helsinki Final Act and other OSCE documents, as well as the commitments undertaken in the field of disarmament and arms control.
In order to join the Programme, it is necessary to have the consent of the Alliance which examines the readiness of a candidate country to meet its standards and criteria, and then invites the state which has expressed an interest, to apply. Participation in the PfP and EU membership are not conditioned upon each other, although they are compatible since NATO and the European Union have close value systems, standards and procedures. The political framework for cooperation between NATO and partner countries is the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC), a political and security forum which gathers all NATO Member States and PfP participants. The EAPC is a mechanism of political coordination and oversight of all activities within the PfP programme, which reviews issues that are relevant for partner cooperation, through political consultations.
Republic of Serbia and the Partnership for Peace programme
Relations between the Republic of Serbia and NATO are specific in many ways - they are the result and reflection of historical circumstances, events from the recent past and of outstanding current issues. The position of NATO regarding the question of Kosovo and Metohija and the fact that most Member States of the Alliance have recognized the Unilateral Declaration of Independence of Kosovo, as well as the participation of NATO/KFOR in the establishment of the illegal, so-called Kosovo Security Force, has affected and has inevitably had an impact on the current level of relations between the Republic of Serbia and NATO. However, there is an understanding on both sides that the promotion of partner cooperation, especially through Serbia's participation in the PfP, contributes to stability and confidence building in the Balkans and, more broadly, in the Euro-Atlantic area. In this regard, for the Republic of Serbia, participation in the PfP programme is, right now, the most appropriate framework to develop its relations and cooperation with NATO, its Member States and other PfP participating countries, particularly bearing in mind the nature of this programme, its flexibility and possibilities for adapting it to individual participants.
Relations between the Republic of Serbia and NATO, in the period which immediately preceded accession to the Programme, had been on an ascending line and had manifested themselves through a developed dialogue. Alongside the promotion of its relations with NATO political and military structures, the Republic of Serbia has developed multifaceted bilateral cooperation in the field of security and defence policy with NATO members and PfP countries.
At the NATO Riga Summit on 29 November 2006, the Republic of Serbia was invited, together with Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, to join the Partnership for Peace, as stated in the conclusion of the final document of the Summit. It formally became a PfP participant on 14 December 2006, when Serbian President Boris Tadic signed, at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, the Framework Document containing the fundamental principles of the PfP programme. In this way, the Republic of Serbia formally became a participant of the Programme with the right to participate in the deliberations of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and NATO committees and working bodies in the format open for partners.
After the signing of the Framework Document, the Government of the Republic of Serbia adopted the Presentation Document which Minister of Foreign Affairs Vuk Jeremic delivered at NATO Headquarters, on 5 September 2007. This document defines areas of cooperation with NATO, the activities that the Republic of Serbia intends to undertake in order to achieve the partnership goals, as well as military and other capacities made available to the PfP programme. In the Presentation Document, the Republic of Serbia emphasizes the intention to take an active part in the PfP programme and the readiness to participate in almost all established mechanisms of the programme, including the Individual Partnership Action Plan, as a more advanced form of cooperation. The Document, however, does not envisage Serbia's participation in the Membership Action Plan, as a partnership mechanism which is being granted, on the basis of a NATO decision, to a PfP participating country which has expressed an intention to join NATO and requested such a status.
In the years that followed joining the PfP programme, a number of steps were taken with a view to intensifying the participation of the Republic of Serbia in the PfP, owing to which progress was made in the cooperation, as welcomed by NATO.
The Republic of Serbia and NATO signed the Security Agreement on 1 October 2008 and the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia ratified it on 5 July 2011. This Agreement guarantees the minimum necessary standards of security of information exchanged. This agreement enables the exchange of classified information with NATO and creates conditions for a more active role of the Republic of Serbia in the PfP programme.
The Government of the Republic of Serbia, in late October 2008, adopted the decision to establish the Mission of the Republic of Serbia to NATO, which was an important step toward enhancing its diplomatic and defence military presence at NATO Headquarters, for the purpose of promoting dialogue and developing PfP cooperation. The Mission of the Republic of Serbia to
NATO was officially opened in December 2009.
The first Individual Partnership Programme (IPP) between the Republic of Serbia and NATO for 2009-2010 was adopted in 2008. The IPP made more concrete Serbia's participation in the programme, in line with the goals and areas of cooperation identified in the Presentation Document. The Second Individual Partnership Programme covered the period from 2010-2011, whereas the third one covering the 2011-2012 period is currently under preparation, which was approved by the Government of the Republic of Serbia at the end of December 2010 and which was endorsed by NATO in January 2011.
“In February 2011, the Government of the Republic of Serbia adopted the Conclusion on launching the procedure for the elaboration of the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) between the Republic of Serbia and NATO, as a more intensive form of cooperation within the Partnership for Peace. IPAP consists of the Presentation Document and the matrix implementation plan for the objectives defined in the Presentation Document. On 14 July 2011, the Government of the Republic of Serbia adopted the Presentation Document which was presented at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, on 25 November 2011.
On 20 December 2014, IPAP was approved by the Government of the Republic of Serbia and on 15 January 2015 by the North Atlantic Council (NAC), and therefore the document formally came into force. Adoption of the document is a significant step forward in the relations between the Republic of Serbia and NATO and will create the conditions for a regular and structured dialogue, including dialogue at the political level.
IPAP reflects the policy and reform goals of the Republic of Serbia, combined with NATO collective recommendations. Identifying the comprehensive action plan, IPAP facilitates focusing the cooperation on the fulfillment of needs of the Republic of Serbia and common interests of NATO.
Undertaken activities are in accordance with the commitment of the Republic of Serbia to actively participate in the Partnership for Peace, as well as in line with the policy of military neutrality of the Republic of Serbia”.
Joint activities have also been going on between the Republic of Serbia and NATO regarding the Planning and Review Process, a PfP mechanism which is of particular significance for the promotion of cooperation within the PfP cooperation in the military field.
The results of the IPAP implementation analysis for the first year are more than encouraging, considering that it is the first biennial IPAP cycle between the Republic of Serbia and NATO. Out of a total of 215 activities planned for 2015-2016, only 6 were not implemented within the set period of time. It is important that 62% of activities were carried out within the planned period, 35% were partly implemented, while only 3% were not implemented at all. The significant results achieved in IPAP implementation were recognized also by NATO in the regular performance review cycle.
Importance of the participation in the Partnership for Peace programme by the Republic of Serbia
The participation in the PfP programme is an essential contribution to the strengthening of its international standing and reputation. Through an active participation in this programme, the Republic of Serbia is in a position to cooperate with NATO, its members and other PfP participants in all areas of interest and to reaffirm its commitment to strengthen regional and broader international stability and, at the same time, to contribute to sustainable and long-term development of the region.
Intensified participation in the PfP programme is in line with Serbia's set foreign policy priorities and its fastest European integration. In addition, Serbia's participation in the programme bears witness to its commitment to common values on which, not only the Partnership for Peace rests upon, but all European and Euro-Atlantic structures.
Serbia's participation in the PfP programme has a positive effect on the process of the reform of the security sector and the defence system, especially in the context of assistance to a more effective adjustment to the generally accepted principles of democratic oversight of the armed forces and strengthening of the country's readiness to respond to modern security threats and challenges.
On its part, NATO welcomes the activities taken by the Republic of Serbia within the PfP programme and expresses its readiness for further intensification of cooperation.
The Declarations adopted at the Bucharest NATO Summit in 2008, and Strasbourg/Kehl in 2009 expressed NATO's readiness to further develop relations with the Republic of Serbia by taking full advantage of Serbia's PfP membership, as well as to deepen cooperation, primarily through the development of the Individual Partnership Action Plan.
At the Lisbon NATO Summit held in November 2010, PfP countries did not take part. However, the meeting was particularly important to partners, primarily because of the adoption of the new NATO Strategic Concept and strengthening of the basis for developing the relations between NATO and other countries. The New Strategic Concept expresses the readiness to assist in the integration of the Western Balkans into Euro-Atlantic structures, even though the document itself did not deal with either Serbia or the region in greater detail. The Republic of Serbia was not the subject of discussions at the last Chicago NATO held on 20-21 May 2012 either. The Final Declaration of the Summit contains the provisions encouraging Serbia to develop cooperation with NATO and supporting the efforts aimed at consolidating peace and stability in Kosovo and Metohija.
For the first time since the Summit in Bucharest, Serbia was invited - during the NATO Summit in Wales (Great Britain), September 2014, to the meeting of NATO heads of state or government, where it participated, together with a number of partner states, in one of the Summit meetings (Interoperability Platform meeting), confirming that Serbia enjoys, within the PfP programme, the status of a reliable, predictable and responsible partner. The Republic of Serbia was invited to, and participated in, the meeting in the same format at the Alliance Summit in Warsaw, in July 2016.
An important aspect of practical cooperation between the Republic of Serbia and NATO is the destruction of surpluses of outdated ammunition and ordnance posing a threat to the security of the people and environment of Serbia. To that end, NATO and the Republic of Serbia launched a project, on 12 October 2016, aimed at destruction of ammunition and ordinance surpluses, and technical /technological modernization of "Technical Overhaul Works Kragujevac". The project, whose total value is 3.7 million dollars, is financed by the NATO Trust Fund. Assets of this Fund, headed by Great Britain, were donated by several NATO member and partner countries. This is the fourth trust fund whereby NATO has financially supported the implementation of projects in the Republic of Serbia.
Additionally, there are many projects under the NATO Science for Peace and Security programme in which young Serbian scientists are engaged. These NATO funded and supported scientific projects have a specific practical value and importance for people, local communities and public institutions. nced by the NATO Trust Fund. Assets of this Fund, headed by Great Britain, were donated by several NATO member and partner countries. This is the fourth trust fund whereby NATO has financially supported the implementation of projects in the Republic of Serbia.
An important area of Serbia's relations with NATO is cooperation in the field of civil protection and emergency situations, enabling Serbia to acquire best experience and improve its structures and capacity for responding to natural disasters and other emergencies. Faced with the migration flow, the Republic of Serbia submitted, for the first time on 17 December 2015, a formal request to NATO Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC), asking for assistance. Responding to Serbia's request, assistance in tents, blankets, mattresses, hygiene products, medicines and other essential supplies for refugee needs was provided by several NATO member and partner countries.
Concurrently with the promotion of relations with the relevant NATO structures, the Republic of Serbia has developed diversified bilateral cooperation in the political and security fields with NATO members and partner countries. This cooperation is an important segment of the overall relations between the Republic of Serbia and NATO. The current level of bilateral cooperation with individual countries is greatly determined by their position regarding Kosovo's unilaterally declared independence.
Political dialogue between Serbia and NATO
The adoption of IPAP established the framework for deepening the cooperation between Serbia and NATO, and consequently enhancing and upgrading the political dialogue. In this context, Minister of Foreign Affairs I. Dacic and Defense Minister B. Gasic visited the NATO Headquarters in Brussels on 18 March 2015, and participated in the meeting between the North Atlantic Council and Serbia, where they met with NATO Secretary General J. Stoltenberg and permanent representatives of NATO member countries. Particularly important for the further promotion of the relations between Serbia and NATO was the visit by the Organization's Secretary General J. Stoltenberg to Belgrade, 19-20 November 2015, who met with Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia A. Vucic and other senior officials.
The trend of further strengthening the political dialogue at the highest level was continued by the visit of the Serbian Prime Minister to the NATO Headquarters, on 23 November 2016. The bilateral talks with NATO Secretary General J. Stoltenberg dealt with prospects of further deepening the partnership and cooperation between NATO and the Republic of Serbia, as well as other topics of common interest. Prime Minister A. Vucic participated in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council, where he exchanged views with the permanent representatives of member countries on the bilateral relations between Serbia and NATO, and on other security-political themes of importance to the Western Balkan region.