Opening remarks

by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the meeting of the NATO-Russia Council at Foreign Affairs Ministers level, Brussels

  • 04 Dec. 2009 -
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  • Last updated: 04 Dec. 2009 15:03

Left to right: Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero (NATO Deputy Secretary General) with NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Admiral Giamplaolo Di Paola (Chairman of the NATO Military Committee

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to this Ministerial meeting of the NATO-Russia Council.

I am very pleased that this meeting is taking place today. We have seen a long period, after the crisis last August, when the NRC did not meet. But the fact is that the NATO-Russia relationship has become an indispensable security bridge across Europe. There are too many issues which we need to discuss, too many challenges we need to face together, in order to secure our common home. Put one way – we’re stuck with each other.

Put another way, cooperation between these 29 countries has great potential to bring better security to all our citizens. A trusting, productive NATO-Russia relationship is important not just for European security, but indeed for global security.

Today’s meeting will show how significant the potential is: to agree on the common threats and challenges we face; and to decide on a concrete plan of action to tackle those threats, be they terrorism, or proliferation, or the instability in Afghanistan. Real cooperation, to face real problems together.

Our goal should be to build a true strategic partnership between NATO and Russia, based on trust, shared views and shared goals. That may not be for tomorrow – but today’s meeting will be an important step in the right direction.