Relations between the OSCE and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have been crucial in developing the security architecture of post-Cold War Europe. Since the beginning of the Helsinki process, NATO has significantly contributed to the debate within the OSCE (then Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe) on developing the OSCE Security Model. NATO's important role in promoting security in Europe is emphasized in a number of OSCE documents, such as the 2003 OSCE Strategy to Address Threats to Security and Stability in the Twenty-First Century.
After the tragedy of the 9/11 attacks, relations have continued to expand, reflecting the new focus on agendas set by the OSCE participating States at the recent meetings of the OSCE Ministerial Council and by the NATO Member States at the NATO Istanbul Summit. The Istanbul Summit Communiqué states that "NATO and the OSCE have largely complementary responsibilities and common interests, both functionally and geographically. NATO will continue to further develop co-operation with the OSCE in areas such as conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation."
Co-operation addresses issues, such as:
- Combating transnational threats, including terrorism and cyber threats
- Border management and security
- Small arms and light weapons
- Confidence- and security-building measures
- Regional issues
- Exchange of experience on the respective Mediterranean Dimensions
Framework for co-operation
Relations between the OSCE and NATO are maintained through:
- Addresses by the OSCE Chairman-in-Office to the North Atlantic Council and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council
- Addresses by the NATO Secretary General to the OSCE Permanent Council
- Regular contacts between the Secretaries General of both organizations
- Annual staff-level talks on topical issues that are on each organization's agenda
- Cross representation at appropriate meetings
In the field, since its deployment in July 1999, the OSCE Mission in Kosovo has developed close links with the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR), which provides a secure environment for the international community in the province. The NATO-led Stabilization Force (SFOR)in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina worked closely together to implement the Dayton Peace Agreement.
On regional issues, the combined efforts of the EU, NATO and the OSCE have been instrumental in preventing crises from escalating and in stabilizing the situations in both Southern Serbia in 2000-2001 and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in 2001. For example, joint efforts facilitated the signing of the Ohrid Framework Agreement on 13 August 2001.
In 2004, 2005 and 2014, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan provided substantial security assistance to the OSCE's Election Support Teams that were deployed to Afghanistan for the Presidential and Parliamentary elections respectively.