NATO-Russia Council agrees on closer cooperation
Foreign ministers from NATO nations and Russia agreed to increase their cooperation in 2013 during a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) on Tuesday (4 December).
The NRC was founded in 2002 and consists of the 28 NATO Allies and Russia as equal members of the Council.
“We agreed on a reinforced programme of activities for next year. It builds on our current cooperation, and explores new areas where we can work together,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who is chairman of the NRC, said after the meeting. NRC nations already cooperate in a number of areas, such as supporting the Afghan Air Force helicopter fleet by providing spare parts and training maintenance crews; training counter-narcotics officers from across Central Asia, Afghanistan and Pakistan; and cooperating to prevent terrorism.
“This is a good foundation for next year’s ambitious agenda,” the Secretary General said.
Under the 2013 programme, the counter-narcotics project will be expanded to include training for Afghan police women, and on the use of dogs in the fight against drugs. The helicopter maintenance project will be extended to new types of helicopter and new specialisations. The NRC will also consider cooperation on the disposal of excess ammunition.
“These are all valuable projects, which can bring new vigour to the NATO-Russia Council,” the Secretary General said. NRC ministers also discussed Turkey’s request for NATO to augment its air-defence capabilities, to help defend the population and territory of Turkey, and to help de-escalate the crisis along NATO’s border. “In the spirit of transparency, I called Minister Lavrov almost two weeks ago to raise this issue. In the same spirit, I have just told him that I expect NATO to announce its decision today,” the Secretary General said. “NATO’s position is clear: any deployment will be to protect Turkey. It will be purely defensive in nature. It will in no way support a no-fly zone or any offensive operation. It is a clear signal of NATO solidarity,” he underlined.
For more details on cooperation in the NATO-Russia Council, see www.nato-russia-council.info