Russia and Nato enter new detente

Yeltsin pledges to dismantle warheads aimed at West

The "Founding Act on mutual relations, co-operation and security between the Russian Federation and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation" commits Russia and the 16-nation Alliance to a "fundamentally new relationship" in which they "no longer consider each other as adversaries".

Boris Yeltsin kept up Russia's opposition to Nato's planned enlargement right to the end, but after signing the Act, which paves the way for it, he surprised everyone by announcing he would order the warheads taken off Russian missiles pointed towards Nato states.

His impromptu announcement threw officials into confusion, and the Russian missile command said they had not been told about it and did not know exactly what their President meant. Russia has already signed agreements with the US, Britain and France not to aim missiles at them. President Yeltsin was extending the "de-targeting" arrangement to the other Nato states.

The Founding Act was signed by all 17 heads of government, including British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who met Mr Yeltsin for the first time. The two men discussed organised crime, an area of concern to both. During their discussion, Mr Yeltsin invited Mr Blair to visit Moscow, probably in October.

Both Nato and Russia gave way on strongly held positions to forge the historic Act. Nato has finally agreed to re-examine its "Strategic concept" - which has not been revised since before the break-up of the Soviet Union - to reflect the new landscape of Europe, in which there is no direct threat from the east at the moment. In effect, this could mean the alliance facing a different direction.

The Russians fought hard to get an undertaking that Nato would not deploy any nuclear weapons on the territory of new member states, or foreign conventional forces. Nato insisted it had no plans to put nuclear weapons there, but re- fused to promise never to do so. The final wording of the Act stops short of an absolute pro-mise, but says in the strongest terms that Nato members have "no intention, no plan and no reason to deploy nuclear weapons ... and do not foresee any future need to do so."

It also says the alliance will guarantee the new members' security by plans to reinforce them in emergency, rather than by permanent stationing of troops on their soil.

Nato also gave way a little on its attitude towards the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which Russia said it would prefer to take a lead in European security issues, rather than Nato. The Act promises Nato's support for peace-keeping operations not only carried out under the UN, but also the OSCE.

Russia has moved on two issues. First, the Act will be "politically" binding but not "legally" binding as the Russians had demanded. However, as the Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov pointed out recently, if a treaty is binding, it is binding .

The Russian demand for a veto on Nato decisions has also been rejected. The Act stresses that neither Nato nor Russia has a right of veto over the actions of the other, nor does it restrict independent decision-making and action.

The newly created Nato-Russia Permanent Joint Council will "provide a mechanism for consultations, co-ordination and, to the maximum extent possible, where appropriate, for joint decisions and joint action". The Permanent Joint Council will be the principal means of consultation. Russia will also establish a mission to Nato headed by an ambassador with a senior military adviser.

The document is in four parts: principles; the mechanism for consultation and co-operation, which outlines the structure of the Joint Council; areas for consultation and co-operation; and the military dimension.

President Yeltsin's announce-ment that he would order warheads to be unscrewed from the Strategic Nuclear Forces' missiles caused some confusion, especially as a Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces spokesman said they had no prior knowledge of the announcement. However, Colonel Terry Taylor of the International Institute for Strategic Studies said "de-targeting" agreements had been reached between Russia and the US, France and Britain, and that President Yeltsin was simply saying these would now apply to all Nato countries.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
News
i100
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston, poses at the premiere of
people
News
people
News
The frequency with which we lie and our ability to get away with it both increase to young adulthood then decline with age, possibly because of changes that occur in the brain
scienceRoger Dobson knows the true story, from Pinocchio to Pollard
Voices
The male menopause: those affected can suffer hot flushes, night sweats, joint pain, low libido, depression and an increase in body fat, among other symptoms
voicesSo the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Life and Style
health
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Assistant

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...

Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head