NATO: ANOTHER RELOAD

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ANOTHER PERIOD OF WARMTH BEGINS IN THE RUSSIAN-NATO RELATIONS

Russian Representative to NATO Rogozin: I believe that the crisis in the Russian-NATO relations is finally over.


Relations between Russia and NATO appear to be on the mend again.

“NATO is through with the spirit of confrontation. It has finally got down to carrying out the decision to reload our relations,” Russian Representative to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said after the Russian-NATO Council meeting at the ambassadorial level.

Expulsion of two Russian diplomats from Brussels and NATO’s exercise in Georgia all but put the Russian-NATO relations on hold earlier this month. Russia refused to attend the meeting of staff chiefs and another of defense ministers. A meeting of foreign ministers will probably take place all the same, in September or earlier. It is the principle result of the ambassadorial meeting in Brussels.

In any event, Moscow wouldn’t pretend that nothing happened or rush to meet the Alliance halfway. Meeting of foreign ministers is a condition for military contacts with NATO. Restoration of military cooperation in its turn is needed to enable the involved parties to pool efforts against the Somalian pirates. Russian and NATO ambassadors also agreed to transform the Russian-NATO Council into a body where strategic security issues would be discussed.

“It was a square talk,” Rogozin said. “We reviewed all of the Russian-NATO relations. Fortunately, all diplomats presented their respective countries rather than the Alliance as such, and this approach proved quite productive. We discussed, among other things, a ministerial meeting that would pave the way for restoration of military cooperation, currently suspended. By the way, even the Americans stand for this restoration. We also agreed to meet and discuss at length the situation in Afghanistan in the light of the forthcoming presidential election in this country.”

“NATO’s interest in the Russian National Security Strategy is enormous,” Rogozin continued. “Russia in its turn would like an update on analogous documents of the Alliance… I believe that the crisis is finally behind us. I told them at the meeting that Moscow was offering them a hand again and expected a handshake.”

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