|Last update: 15-Feb-2006 13:07||NATO Update|
NATO-Russia defence ministers discuss priorities for 2006
NATO-Russia Council defence ministers met informally in Taormina, Italy, on 10 February. They exchanged views on the state of NATO-Russia defence cooperation and on priorities for the rest of 2006 and beyond.
Ministers also explored possibilities for additional practical NATO-Russia cooperation and broadening and deepening of NATO-Russia Council (NRC) political dialogue.
The meeting came against a background of solid achievements in the NRC framework.
Of particular note is NRC cooperation in the fight against terrorism. This includes the exchange of intelligence and analysis, joint threat assessments in areas of interest to both Russia and NATO, a joint initiative to monitor airspace, and ongoing preparations by Russian naval forces for their contribution to NATO's maritime anti-terrorist operation in the Mediterranean, Operation Active Endeavour.
A Russian cruiser, the Moskva – which is serving as a platform for the training of Russian officers who will be taking part in Operation Active Endeavour later this year – was berthed at the port of Messina at the time of the meeting. During the spring, Allied and Russian personnel will complete a crucial phase of pre-deployment training, including at sea.
After the meeting, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and Italian Defence Minister Antonio Martino accompanied Russian Defence Minister Sergey Ivanov on a visit to the ship, marking the significance of this step forward in NATO-Russia cooperation.
Ministers also discussed other ongoing NATO operations and missions including Afghanistan, the Balkans, Iraq, and Darfur, as well as other current international security concerns.