Statement by the Chairman of the NATO-Russia Council Anders Fogh Rasmussen following the NATO-Russia Council at Foreign Ministers level
We have just had a good and lively discussion in the NATO-Russia Council. This is a forum for all topics and at all times. And that is the way it was today.
Where we agree, we continue practical cooperation. And where we disagree, we continue to work for an agreement. That is what partners do.
A year ago, in Lisbon, we agreed to take the path towards a true strategic partnership. We agreed on the first concrete steps that we would take together. And today, we agreed that we have made good progress.
We are working together to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan. We are working together to make the seas safe against pirates. And we are working together to develop new ways to prevent terrorist attacks.
We agreed to work together more effectively in the fight against piracy. Russia has proposed seven different measures to reinforce our common efforts off the coast of Somalia - such as improving coordination and communication, and cooperating on medical support, logistics and refuelling. All 29 members of the NATO-Russia Council have now endorsed those ideas. And we are looking at ways to put them into practice.
We agreed that international controls on biological and toxin weapons are important - and that we will work to make them stronger.
We also noted a significant milestone in our shared efforts to combat terrorism. The horrific events of 9/11 showed us the devastating use terrorists can make of civilian aircraft. Since then, we have been working together to create a system to detect and prevent such an attack in Europe. We call it the Cooperative Airspace Initiative. And I am pleased to say that the system is now ready for operations.
We also discussed ways to enhance transparency. Our positions may not always converge - for instance on Libya, conventional arms control, or Georgia. But even when we disagree, transparency is the best way to reduce tension and build trust.
That is particularly the case with missile defence. It's no secret that differences remain on how to organise our cooperation in this area. But the sort of intensive dialogue we've had today shows that we are committed to finding a way forward.
On missile defence, we do not agree - yet. But we all agree that it is important to keep on trying. To keep on talking. And to keep on listening to each other's concerns. Because that is the spirit of Lisbon. And because we know that, if we can reach agreement on this issue, it will take our relationship to the next level.
Our cooperation is broad and strong - and while we continue the dialogue, we can make progress that benefits all of us.
NATO-Russia Council - Opening Remarks by Chairman of the NATO-Russia Council
Chairman of the NATO-Russia Council's opening remarks at the beginning of the NATO-Russia Council.