NATO Riga Summit

For Your Information:
NATO's "Partnership for Peace"

IN 1994, NATO launched its Partnership for Peace (PfP) program.

Twenty-six countries joined the PfP in 1994 and 1995, most of them were either former Soviet republics or former members of the Warsaw Pact, formed by the Soviet Union to counter-balance NATO during the cold war. Ten of these countries later became formal members of NATO.

The PfP is a program of "practical bilateral cooperation between individual partner countries and NATO." According to the official documents, "the PfP allows partner countries to build up an individual relationship with NATO, choosing their own priorities for cooperation." In fact, it is a way for the U.S. to establish its military bases abroad using the resources of the countries concerned while providing the training and equipment which integrates the armed forces of these countries with the U.S. armed forces.

Currently there are 20 PFP members: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Croatia, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

At its Istanbul summit in 2004, NATO further expanded its influence in the south by elevating its Mediterranean Dialogue to an effective partnership with seven countries in the Middle East: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia.

At the 2004 summit, NATO leaders also decided to launch the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative which targets the broader region of the Middle East.

The initiative is open "to all interested parties in the region." Currently, it has six countries, which are also members of the Gulf Cooperation Council: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

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