NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organization

18 Sep. 2009

Secretary General proposes a new beginning in NATO-Russia relations

The NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, gave today his first major public speech as the new Secretary General of NATO on "NATO and Russia: A New Beginning".

In the speech, Mr Rasmussen presented his vision of a strategic partnership with Russia, outlining concrete proposals aimed at improving and energizing this relationship.

Specifically, the Secretary General suggested focusing on the reinforcement of practical cooperation, rejuvenating the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) and conducting a joint review of new security challenges.

In his address he argued that, "A time-out may have been useful to rethink our relationship. But the international security environment does not wait for NATO and Russia to sort out their act. Quite simply, NATO-Russia cooperation is not a matter of choice – it is a matter of necessity."

He also said: "This new relationship will require a lot of hard work. But if we manage to get away from the reflex of assuming the worst about each other, and focus instead on our common interests, then we can make a genuine new beginning in our relationship – in our own interest and that of the entire international community."

Last updated: 18-Sep-2009 14:52

From the event