Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 223

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov used a meeting of the fifty-four-nation OSCE in Oslo yesterday to renew Moscow’s attacks both on NATO’s security role in Europe and on parallel proposals for the Western alliance to expand the scope of its activities. In remarks to the OSCE gathering, Ivanov urged the organization to carve out a greater peacekeeping role for itself in Europe and to intensify its efforts toward the drafting of a European security charter. More generally, Russian diplomats said that the Ivanov-led delegation would lobby actively against proposals currently being mooted in NATO that would authorize the alliance to conduct peacekeeping and other operations outside NATO territory–possibly without a UN mandate (Russian agencies, December 2).

Moscow has long opposed what it calls “NATO-centrism” in Europe and has urged that the OSCE, rather than NATO, assume the central role in Europe’s security architecture. Russia has likewise led opposition on the UN Security Council to proposals that NATO’s military might be employed in Yugoslavia–or that U.S. and British forces launch air strikes against Iraq–absent a direct UN mandate.

Moscow’s diplomatic efforts in this area are likely to become more intensive as NATO moves in the coming months to redefine its goals and missions for the coming century. Moscow can be expected to exploit the unease felt in some European capitals over U.S. proposals seeking to broaden the alliance’s mandate to include missions outside of NATO territory. The United States is also said to be pushing for a stipulation which, under exceptional circumstances, the alliance should be free to act without a UN Security Council mandate. These and related issues will be at the center of discussions when NATO marks its fiftieth anniversary at a summit meeting in Washington next April (International Herald Tribune, November 28).