The Foreign Affairs Committee at the lower house of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, has approved the appointment of Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko as Russia’s new ambassador to NATO.
The post has been vacant since Russia’s outspoken NATO envoy Dmitry Rogozin was promoted to deputy prime minister overseeing defense industry in December last year.
Grushko’s candidacy was discussed at a closed session of the committee on Thursday, and has to be approved by a similar committee at the upper house, the Federation Council, before a decree on his appointment is submitted to the Russian president for signing.
Grushko, 57, is a veteran diplomat who has been in charge of Russia’s relations with Euro-Atlantic organizations and general European matters.
He led Russia’s delegation on military security and weapons control in Vienna between 1996 and 2000.
If appointed, Grushko will become the first career diplomat to fill this post, and will face a daunting task of dealing with the stalled Russia-NATO talks on missile defense along with a host of other controversial issues.