December 3, 2009 / 7:43 PM / 10 years ago

NATO and Russia resolve dispute, will hold talks

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - NATO and Russia have resolved a dispute which Moscow’s envoy to the military alliance had said could affect prospects for increased cooperation on Afghanistan, Russian and NATO diplomats said on Thursday.

Dmitry Rogozin, Russia's ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, addresses a news conference in Brussels in this September 18, 2009 file photo. NATO and Russia have resolved a dispute which Moscow's envoy to the military alliance had said could affect prospects for increased cooperation on Afghanistan, Russian and NATO diplomats said on Thursday. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

They said the breakthrough would allow three documents on NATO-Russia cooperation to be signed on Friday at the first formal ministerial meeting between the two sides since ties were frozen after Russia’s brief war with Georgia last year.

Russia’s NATO envoy, Dmitry Rogozin, voiced frustration on Tuesday that the alliance would not discuss Moscow’s proposals for a new Euro-Atlantic security treaty in the joint NATO-Russia Council (NRC), a forum for mutual cooperation.

He said Russia could link any increase in cooperation over Afghanistan to the dispute being resolved.

But a Russian diplomat said: “After two rounds of talks between Rogozin and the NATO secretary-general, the problems were solved.”

A NATO diplomat also said a compromise had been reached.

The three documents to be signed by NATO and Russia during a meeting of NATO foreign ministers cover a joint assessment of threats and security issues, a cooperation plan for 2010 and the future of the NRC.

Russia’s security proposal, published on November 29, would restrict its ability to use military force unilaterally if the United States and its European allies agreed to do the same.

President Dmitry Medvedev has said the European Security Treaty is needed to replace Cold War-era institutions ill-suited to defusing tensions in a multi-polar world.

NATO states have said they are willing to discuss the Russian proposal, but that the correct forum for doing so is the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Medvedev said in Rome on Thursday Russia was willing to do its part to help the United States and Europe achieve peace in Afghanistan and to help Kabul in its efforts to transform its economy, its military and its police forces.

NATO-Russia ties have warmed since a freeze after Moscow’s war with Georgia in August 2008, and Russia has agreed to allow transit of NATO supplies to Afghanistan.

It has held out the prospect of training Afghan forces and refurbishing helicopters that could be deployed to Afghanistan.

Editing by Elizabeth Fullerton

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