Article by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov to be Published in Revue Defense Nationale, May 2010 Issue

Submitted on Sun, 05/23/2010 - 22:00

Euro-Atlantic: Equal Security for All

The world is changing fast. We witness radical transformations in international relations, their paradigm, the very system of global governance that emerged after World War II. Today we face security threats and risks – terrorism, proliferation of WMD and its means of delivery, regional crises, drug trafficking, piracy, natural and man-made disasters – that are common to all Euro-Atlantic States as well as to other parts of the world. All of these are transborder phenomena, which can be effectively dealt with only through a collective effort.

Russia is part and parcel of Europe. We have been strengthening our strategic partnership with the European Union and promoting an alliance for modernization between Russia and the EU. We strive to establish the closest possible bilateral cooperation with many partners in the continent. The relations within the NATO-Russia Council keep on normalizing. All of us share common interests in the stabilization and rehabilitation of Afghanistan, settlement of long-lasting conflicts, and energy and food security. Together with leading nations from every region of the world, we take concerted action to recover from the global financial and economic crisis, with Russia taking the lead in the collective anti-crisis effort within the CIS. We should act in the same manner – I mean, together – when addressing climate change.

Teamwork philosophy lies at the core of Russia's foreign policy. Its overarching goal is to create favorable external conditions for our country's integrated modernization, diversification of its economy and its shift towards an innovation-based development model. We are interested in investments, cutting-edge technologies and advanced ideas, as well as in stable and open world markets. Confrontation is not what we look for, and we will never choose this option. At worst, if any of our partners is not ready for a joint and equal action, then we are likely to come to "non-confrontation", i.e., a state of aloofness from each other's problems, a state of waiting for the natural processes to bring about not only objective (they are already in place), but also subjective conditions for convergence at the level of assessments and practical policies.

The fundamental changes in the world over the previous twenty years could not but affect the European security system, thus giving rise to the need for its transformation. This is underpinned by better environment of the Euro-Atlantic politics with diminished demand for confrontational approaches – the demand which, it should be noted, was created artificially, including under the influence of the discord caused by the war in Iraq.

We can hardly view as normal a situation in which the politico-military realities in the Euro-Atlantic are lagging far behind the current economic, technology, trade and investment and other processes of interdependence and are getting increasingly inconsistent with the imperatives of our time.

European security has become wobbly in all its aspects over the previous twenty years. This includes the erosion of the arms control regime, atrophy of the OSCE, emergence of serious conflicts and the danger of their uncontrolled escalation, and the attempts to turn frozen conflicts into active ones. Statements like "everything is all right, let's do business as usual" fail to convince. In my view, key issues to analyze in the current situation are the theory and practice of the comprehensive approach to security, including the future of the OSCE and an integrated and pragmatic solution in the form of a treaty on European security advocated by Russia.

Recent History: a Brief Overview

When the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist, a real opportunity emerged to turn the OSCE into a full-fledged organization providing equal security for all States in the Euro-Atlantic region. However, this opportunity was missed, because the choice was made in favor of NATO expansion, which actually meant not only preserving the lines that divided Europe into zones with different levels of security during the Cold War, but also moving those lines eastward. The OSCE was, in fact, reduced to servicing this policy through looking after the humanitarian situation in the area "to the East of Vienna". Such a choice, despite the good intentions, had one fundamental methodological flaw: it recognized as a given the fragmented state of European security for a long term, including the systemic divide between East and West. This made the task of creating a system of collective security hostage to exigencies of current political situation both in the region and globally. Crises in Kosovo and Iraq and a more recent crisis connected with Georgia's military misadventure in August 2008 gave obvious proof of that. Everyone is in dire need of security right now and not in the future – which ought to be shaped primarily through universal sense of mutual and equally guaranteed security.

As a result of the choice made by our partners in the 1990s, the European architecture that would bring together all Euro-Atlantic nations, with no exceptions, into a single organization based on clear and legally binding principles and in possession of the appropriate tools to ensure security for all and in all its dimensions, did not materialize. The OSCE became disconnected from the needs of real life.

More importantly, neither the OSCE nor any other framework has ever implemented the principle of indivisibility of security in the Euro-Atlantic as a whole enunciated at the highest level in the 1990s, implying that the security of each State is inherently linked with the security of all others and that States Parties should refrain from any actions aimed at strengthening their own security at the expense of others. This principle was proclaimed by the OSCE, NATO and the NATO–Russia Council (NRC) alike. But whereas the North Atlantic Alliance made the indivisible security a legally binding norm, the OSCE and the NRC have not gone beyond mere political declarations, lacking any legal or practical content.

Two events in the recent history confirm that the principle of indivisibility of security in the OSCE does not work. In 1999, a group of OSCE countries committed aggression against another OSCE member country. Moreover, the unlawful bombing of Serbia was triggered by arbitrary actions of the Head of the OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission W. Walker who having arrived in Rachak in January 1999 immediately qualified the developments there as genocide. The investigation commissioned by the EU and conducted later by the Finnish experts confirmed that the bodies discovered in Rachak belonged to members of armed formations and not to civilians. Incidentally, the investigation report is kept at the ICTY and, despite our repeated appeals, has not been produced even to the members of the UN Security Council. I am referring to this not to justify Milosevic's policy but to stress the utter unacceptability of the situation, when impermissible and biased statements of an OSCE official resulted in a war in Europe.

In August 2008, the OSCE member country bound by various commitments in the sphere of non-use of force and respect for the principles of peaceful settlement of conflicts committed aggression against the civilians of South Ossetia and Russian peacekeepers, who were carrying out their duty based on the internationally recognized agreements, signed also by Georgia.

As a result of the OSCE laxity and absence of clear-cut rules the information of the OSCE observers in South Ossetia about the preparations of the Georgian authorities for a military attack was not reported to the OSCE Permanent Council and the latter thus was unable to take necessary action. Incidentally, the NRC also failed utterly to fulfill its mission by refusing to convene on Russia's request an extraordinary meeting at the height of hostilities. However, even under these circumstances Russia stood the test of proportionality and moderation, having applied as much force as was needed to neutralize Georgian military positions used to fire at the territory of South Ossetia. We left it to the Georgian people to address the issue of regime change.

The thorough analysis of the consequences of the Caucasus crisis enabled many to draw correct conclusions from what had happened. The report of the Swiss diplomat H.Tagliavini, commissioned by the EU became a significant contribution. Those who needed an "independent confirmation" of the well-established facts in order "to make peace with their conscience" got such an opportunity.

Both Kosovo and South Ossetia are manifestations of the systemic weakness of the OSCE, which was used to implement scenarios that have hardly anything to do with the interests of genuine European security and ideals enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act.

About Europe’s "Family Business"

As is always the case with turning points of history, we have to make a choice between the past and the future. This is precisely the question that we are facing today. It is critical not to waste this unique opportunity. I am certain that we are capable of setting aside the historic complexes and looking beyond the horizon.

By and large, it is necessary to think over Europe’s "family business" following the end of the Cold War and to reassess a lot of other things using a sober analysis of the real consequences of what has happened over the past 20 years, rather than in terms of euphoria and triumphalism of the early 1990s. The geopolitical weight of Europe and the whole of European civilization, with the US and Russia being its integral parts, will depend on whether we are able to draw the right lessons together.

One of the major lessons should be an honest recognition that there is a problem with the concept of indivisible security, and we will have to address it so that it do not prevent us from dealing with numerous concrete issues that are important for all of us. Having resolved the issue of indivisible security in the Atlantic-European region once and for all, we will be able to focus on a positive agenda and our pressing issues on the basis of our common interests and to lay a solid groundwork for cooperation between Europe, the US and Russia.

Our common region, however, should be free from any exclusive schemes in the most sensitive area – the military and political dimension of security. We need something inclusive, going beyond NATO and the NATO-Russia Council, so that many countries stop facing a false choice between the EU/NATO and Russia.

It is clear now that policies or merely an atmosphere of confrontation do not yield the desired results. Therefore, we can only welcome the ever-growing number of voices calling to try common sense at last. That would constitute a real change after so many years of irrational policies pursued on the basis of "hunch and instincts", as Louis de Saint-Simon put it.

Many people realize that the current situation is not healthy. Hence the real interest in the idea put forward by President Medvedev in June 2008 to conclude a European security treaty. Since then, it became possible to start tackling this issue vigorously in the inter-governmental format and at meetings of political analysts. If it were not for this initiative, that reflects our assessment of the state of European affairs, we would not have seen this wake-up in the OSCE.

Corfu Process: Comprehensive Approach

In response to the Russian initiative our partners in NATO and the EU said that they were ready to discuss it only in the OSCE because this Organization is the "keeper" of the comprehensive approach to security adopted by us all.

Let me note here that before our initiative was launched few OSCE Member States, besides us, remembered this comprehensive approach. As a matter of fact, there was no such a thing in the practical activities of the Organization. The lion's share of its programs was carried out in the humanitarian sphere to the detriment of other "baskets". We are far from underestimating European humanitarian problems but serious disbalances in the OSCE activities ought to be fixed.

By the way, speaking about the humanitarian dimension: let’s not forget about the Council of Europe that has developed quite a few European conventions which, unlike the political documents of the OSCE, are legally binding and thus constitute the common legal space of our continent. Why shouldn't we, within the context of the Corfu Process, call upon all the OSCE Member States, including such members of the European family as the US and Canada, to join these conventions? Everyone would benefit from it, just as everyone, including Russia, has benefited from our ratification of Protocol 14 to the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

In other words, it is in the sphere of soft security, relating to human security and human rights, that there has been established a European structure, e.i. the Council of Europe, that is working fairly well. But in the sphere of hard security we do not have such a genuinely collective organization possessing an international legal personality.

As far as the economic dimension of security is concerned, here the OSCE is confronted with an even more serious competition on the part of specialized multilateral structures. It should look for its niche without trying to duplicate their activities, all the more so because the OSCE lacks necessary expertise and resources. On the other hand, the OSCE could well state its position on the principles of economic relations between the OSCE Member States, including the inadmissibility of unilateral coercive measures taken by some of its members for political reasons and not relying on the decisions of the UN Security Council.

We all need an OSCE which in reality strengthens security and cooperation on the continent in all their dimensions providing an added value based on its real comparative advantages. We would like the OSCE to be strong, efficient and anchored in international law.

That is why we provided active support to the Greek Presidency in the OSCE in its initiative of launching the Corfu Process which reflected the awareness of necessity to reinvigorate in full the Decalogue of Helsinki principles and a genuinely comprehensive approach to security. Such a platform for free debate is valuable for it makes it possible to air broad views of things. We hope that the continued dialogue will help develop the ways to fully enhance the OSCE ability to work.

Naturally, comprehensive approach should not be substituted by the tactics of artificial linkages. After all, if someone refuses to discuss hard security unless satisfied with the human rights situation, then someone else can take a similar stand, but with an "opposite sign", not wishing to discuss humanitarian themes without prior agreements on politico-military or economic issues. And then we all shall find ourselves in a blind alley.

We assume that all security dimensions are important and should be considered with a view to achieving the most effective arrangements on each issue, rather than following the principle of lowest common denominator. Thus we stand for reaffirming absolutely all of the fundamental OSCE documents and analyzing the progress in fulfilling all of the previously adopted commitments. The suggestion to discuss only the commitments of the "humanitarian basket" and, even selectively (excluding, for example, the freedom of movement), effectively means preventing the OSCE from getting out of its deep crisis.

It is encouraging that the agreed Corfu Process agenda highlights the issue of increasing Organization effectiveness, which cannot eschew the issues of its reform, including the adoption of a Charter, and agreeing on clear and transparent rules of operation of all its institutions and mechanisms. The Corfu Process should primarily result in creating a legal framework of the OSCE, which could be built upon through arrangements on substantive issues within the context of a comprehensive and balanced approach to all security dimensions.

ussia has already made a substantial contribution to the preparations for the upcoming discussions within the framework of the Corfu Process. Taking into account the recommendations of the Panel of Eminent Persons on strengthening the Effectiveness of the OSCE, we along with a number of other countries have distributed a draft Charter as well as other proposals concerning OSCE reform and enhancement of its activities on all three "baskets".

Treaty on European Security

When we first talked about the need for a European Security Treaty (EST), we were considering a document that would cover all main aspects of hard security. However, taking into account the contacts we had had and the opinions of our partners, we agreed to discuss all practical issues in this area within the framework of the Corfu Process. Among the initiatives we presented within this process are the following: proposals on modernization of the Vienna Document on Confidence and Security-Building Measures (that has not been renewed for ten years), on arms control, on principles of resolution of conflicts and response to new threats.

As for the treaty on European Security per se, the draft we have distributed no longer contains "sectoral" military and political issues and is focused on one topic only – the principle of indivisibility of security, which is systemically important. What we suggest is simple, minimally necessary: to make this principle that was earlier declared a political commitment, legally binding and determine the mechanism of its practical application when a member of the Treaty believes that its security is under threat.

It is hardly possible to address specific concerns without solving this systemic problem.

Codification" of the principle of indivisibility of security will make it possible to ensure a common legal, military and political space in Europe without zones with different levels of security, to join our efforts at a completely new level of trust for a more efficient collective response to common threats. And by the way – the response of our partners to the proposal to turn the declarations of the 1990s into an international legal document will show how sincere they were when they said at the highest level that security would be indivisible and no one would ensure their security at the expense of others. Without exaggeration, all will have to pass the test of their ability to enter into contractual relationship in every sense of the term.

The Russia's initiative naturally fits in the legal framework of the UN Charter, in its concept of collective security. It does not "cancel" any of the previous European documents, nor abolishes any of the existing organizations. On the contrary: all of them – NATO, EU, OSCE, CSTO, CIS – are invited to become full members of the Treaty along with all States of the Euro-Atlantic region. I specially emphasize that since some of our Western colleagues try to find a false bottom in Russia's proposals and suspect that by calling for collective security we seek to destroy NATO and even weaken the European Union. This is certainly not true.

In our relations with NATO we have never been bloody-minded in the spirit of the famous words of Marie-Antoinette and never told the Alliance "to eat its cake" alone – whether in Afghanistan or somewhere else. Whatever the course of events, we never shut the door always preserving the opportunity for a new start in our relations. That is precisely why the Founding Act and the Rome Declaration came into existence. Now we make the third attempt while taking into account the whole scope of accumulated experience, which is mostly negative.

It is not about a new architecture of the European security, but rather about bringing it to a common legal denominator on the basis of the principles, which were collectively promulgated before. This has to be stressed once again. For that matter, the idea of the European Security Treaty provides the most practical and shortest way to resolving the acute issue of security deficits in our region. It requires no painful decisions, no changes in constitutive instruments of the existing organizations in the Euro-Atlantic region. We want all organizations to establish interaction in the spirit of "cooperative security" and on a solid legal basis in full compliance with the 1999 Charter for European Security. We are convinced that our proposal shapes a realistic positive agenda for Europe.

Resistance to the establishment of a pan-regional security system will inevitably make European politics slide back into the past. The more so since the status quo is unsustainable, we can either move forward or the situation will continue to deteriorate whereas the fragmented architecture of eurosecurity will work, at a minimum, to reproduce mistrust.

The initiative of the European Security Treaty is aimed at creating a truly open democratic system of pan-regional collective security and cooperation that will ensure the unity of the Euro-Atlantic region from Vancouver to Vladivostok and overcome inertia of bloc approaches.

It is indeed strange to hear deliberations that our initiative is an attempt to return to the Nineteenth Century policy of "spheres of influence". On the contrary, the Treaty presents a real opportunity to overhaul Euro-Atlantic policies on the basis of collectivity, while, essentially, gaining for time lost after the end of the Cold War. It will give an answer to all conceivable and unconceivable security deficits in the region. So far, no one has tried to convince us of the opposite.

Our partners admit as well that one of the problems is the situation that the existing Euro-Atlantic security institutions, including NATO, were created without regard to the threats of the 21st century. Nonetheless we see the stubborn desire to resolve the problem of the said deficits within the narrow confines of these institutions. The contradiction between end and means is quite apparent here.

It might be appropriate to turn to previous history. Indeed, in its time the League of Nations fell short of the expectations and failed, under the conditions of the interwar period, the test of containing the destructive trends in European politics that ultimately led to unleashing WWII. The right conclusions were made of the outcome of the War, and thus the United Nations Organization appeared which is an effective reincarnation of an essentially right idea behind the creation of the League of Nations. So, often it is not the idea, but its implementation, that is a problem. This is basically what is at the core of the current market economy problems as well.

With the publication of the draft EST that at the end of 2009 was accompanied by a letter by President Dmitry A. Medvedev to his counterparts in the Euro-Atlantic region, this work has entered a new stage. We expect a substantive and constructive reaction. We are grateful to all who have already responded. We stand open to any specific proposals on the substance of the raised issues, whereafter opinions and assessments will be summarized and agreement could be achieved on the time, venue and modalities of negotiations to start. We believe that it is essential to draw on all available dialogue formats at this stage.

As I have said the draft EST has importance of its own in respect of the Corfu Process and we shall continue to promote it without any link to the Corfu discussions. At the same time, such OSCE structures as the Annual Security Review Conference in Vienna, and the Forum for Security Cooperation (FSC) that was created specifically to review military and political goals and problems, are viewed as promising grounds for the dialogue on various aspects of hard security. It is namely FSC responsibility to review implementation of previously adopted commitments by the OSCE participating States in this sphere, including the one on indivisible security.

The Euro-Atlantic expert community, as well prominent non-governmental organizations have joined in the discussion of our initiative with a lot of interest. I mean, primarily, the Aspen Institute, the East-West Institute, the Russian Council for Foreign and Defense Policy, and the Institute of Contemporary Development, that have published their reports, as well as the trilateral Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative of the Carnegie Endowment. We count on the input of the parliamentary diplomacy.

Security Structures: the Way They Happen to Be and the Way They Ought to Be

There is much to be done to achieve the objectives of comprehensive security in Europe in deed rather than just in words and slogans. In particular, one of the problems to be solved is that of openness - since neither NATO nor Russia nor anyone else consider each other adversaries any longer. And if there are no adversaries, then what is the point in NATO's being so exclusive and the continued desire of its members to maintain a privileged status with regard to legally binding security guarantees?

The issue of "sovereignty" of the existing security structures needs a new approach. They cannot function in a vacuum. And our Treaty merely proposes to unify the way these structures operate in full compliance with the generally accepted Euro-Atlantic principle of cooperative security. According to the report of the East-West Institute, equal and indivisible security presupposes overcoming the logic of negative interdependence based on the confrontation of mutual destruction capabilities and moving towards the logic of positive interdependence in the sphere of security based on the acknowledgement of commonality of basic security interests in the face of a whole range of global challenges and threats.

Unfortunately, many of the problems in the NATO-Russia relations pertain to the sphere of political psychology. These are primarily prejudices and instincts of the past, intellectual inertia of those whose formative years made part of the Cold War time. The evidence of their perseverance can be found in a recent book A Little War that Shook the World by Ronald D. Asmus. It gives a vivid example of a myth-based analysis, and an attempt to replay in virtual reality of the information space the events that took place in the Caucasus in August 2008. This approach is not encouraging at all.

What is absolutely depressing is that it becomes bipartisan, and the issue of responsibility of the former U.S. Administration for nurturing the Saakashvili phenomenon is completely ignored. I believe that it sends the wrong message to everyone including us, here in Russia, and the present regime in Tbilisi, whose criminal misadventure is presented as "the first post-Cold War military conflict between the East and the West".

Those who are quite happy with the All-European architecture of hard security (including OSCE activities, lauded as the “gold standard”), oddly enough, are pushing the NATO reform. The ideas that are being put forward in the context of developing the bloc's new strategic concept, are gravitating towards globalization of the NATO-centric policy and its expansion beyond Europe's boundaries and projection of military power, in fact, to any region of the world, and not necessarily with a UN Security Council authorization. As NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at the Munich Conference on February 6, 2010, the tasks of territorial defense continue to be fully relevant for NATO, and today territorial defense must start far beyond the borders of its Member States. What would NATO's reaction be if Russia expressed something of the kind in its policy documents? That is, of course, just for the sake of rhetoric.

The EST idea allows to side-step the issue of the relative role of various European security structures – all these structures are invited to become equal parties to the Treaty. And that fully agrees with prior top level agreements: today many somehow forget about those provisions of the Charter for European Security which not only minutely define the principle of indivisibility of security, but also clearly stipulate that there should not be any hierarchy among the organizations operating in the Euro-Atlantic region.

If everyone really wants to play by the rules that we have jointly set before, we just suggest making these rules legally binding.

As of now, however, many of our partners are far from abandoning the hierarchical approach. NATO-centrism is so persistent that the Alliance refuses to cooperate with the Collective Security Treaty Organization, even on such existential issue for NATO as the Afghan problem, just because such partnership is only possible on the basis of equality, which NATO is not ready to concede.

It is this very logic that is behind the talk about Russia's “integration into the political West”, rather than about convergence, synthesis or fusion. And yet the 20th century did witness several moments of convergence: during the 1930s, during the World War II, and during the period of Detente. Today we have even more reasons for that, especially in view of the global financial and economic crisis, in the wake of which a new international architecture is bound to take shape.

Ultimately, an honest answer should be given to the question on what NATO gains by clinging to its "privileged" status in the European security architecture, when little can be accomplished by the Alliance, both in and outside Europe, without close interaction with other actors. This systemic problem cannot be resolved through developing creative schemes engaging other actors only as accessories to NATO decisions. Effective cooperation is possible only on the basis of genuine equality.

Inertia or Breakthrough Towards Common Future?

The existing inertia works as a self-fulfilling prophecy. In particular, it makes it difficult to completely get rid of the past at the level of conceptual documents in the area of national security and military planning. If someone, doing the military planning, wants to hedge against a case of "Russia going in the wrong direction", then, for us, it is natural and necessary to do the same hedging in the area of national security. We are doing that at the lowest possible level though, which is reflected in the provisions of the new Military Doctrine.

It is not NATO per se that is seen as a danger (not as a threat) but rather some very specific directions of its possible evolution, namely, "the willingness to provide the NATO's power potential with global functions in violation of international law norms, to move the military infrastructure of the NATO Member States closer to the borders of the Russian Federation, including through enlargement of the Organization". At the same time, Russia's desire to cooperate with the West on security problems, which are common for everybody and require a collective approach to resolve them, is also noted. In particular, the task is set to develop cooperation with the EU and NATO in the sphere of international security for the purpose of containment and prevention of military conflicts.

I think that so open an approach is much better that the attempt to take the experience of the Byzantine Empire, which rightly deserves admiration, as a basis for one’s new "Grand Strategy".

Everything changes very fast now, like in a kaleidoscope. A new world is being born. Suffice it to look at the instantaneous creation of the G20 Summit format as soon as the upheavals in the world economy and finance required that, which left no place for narrower and privileged formats in global macroeconomics. This process, by the way, has already resulted in arrangements that are of legally binding nature, for instance, in the revision of the country quotas in the IMF and World Bank.

Another example of the rapid change is the 11 September 2001, from which two conclusions have to be drawn. The first one is that it is impossible to use outdated structures and security methods in response to new asymmetric and non-traditional threats. The second one is the presence of a huge, yet "sleeping" potential of international solidarity, which goes far beyond the existing military alliances and organizations. In those tragic days, when we offered our helping hand to America in trouble, we could not be farther from thinking about which organizations the United States was a member of. I wonder, what else should happen, apart from 11 September 2001 and August 2008, for equality and collective action to prevail in the approaches towards military and political security.

The approach proposed by us goes along the idea of a "global security web", which is advocated by the NATO leadership. In this network, nobody could take their leading role for granted. To which extent it may be actually possible is another story. Leadership in each and every matter would depend on the ability of a particular partner to lead.

Preservation of the principle of consensus in all security structures should be of fundamental importance. This would be one of the safeguards against arbitrary application of their potential for aggressive purposes. No organization should be utilized as a facade for illegitimate unilateral action in violation of the UN Charter and Helsinki principles. Such actions, whatever the motives may be, would undermine collective security.

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The key meaning of the Treaty we propose is that it is designed to solve the systemic problem and create a single legal space in the field of military and political security. It would allow us to more effectively address the issues of arms control, to expand confidence-building measures and to advance towards harmonized military doctrines and military postures, or agree upon common approaches towards conflict resolution. It will permit to qualitatively improve the interaction when responding to common threats while respecting the central role of the United Nations, international law and, of course, legitimate interests of all nations outside the Euro-Atlantic area.

o translate the principle of the indivisibility of security into practice it is imperative that each organization should, while maintaining its identity, seek to build itself into the system of collective interests of all members of the Euro-Atlantic community. This would enhance the efficiency of the OSCE if we are to transform it into a truly functioning organization that assures a comprehensive approach to security in the area from Vancouver to Vladivostok.

May I emphasize that the qualitatively improved cooperation within the NATO-Russia Council and the strategic partnership with the European Union will be Russia's national "segment" in this All-European program.

The conclusion of a treaty on European security would eliminate from the current Euro-Atlantic politics military and political instincts of the past, which prevent us from effectively countering real, for us all, rather than imaginable threats. Today, a qualitatively new factor is emerging in the Euro-Atlantic region when objectively convergent national interests create conditions for achieving, on a de-ideologized basis, the fundamental objective of strengthening the European civilization within a globalizing, polycentric and more competitive world. The work on this Treaty will help develop a new quality of mutual trust between us, which Europe so badly needs under present circumstances.