Russia-NATO Council Meeting to be Held by Yearend

A Russia-NATO Council meeting at the ministerial level should take place by the end of 2012, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.

“I think that by the end of the year we will hold a meeting on the ministerial level,” Lavrov said during a Federation Council meeting.

Lavrov emphasized that Moscow aims “to weigh with proportion cooperation with NATO of the bloc’s readiness to take into consideration our legal interests in security and strategic stability.”

Lavrov recalled that this topic had been brought up during a meeting with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on September 26 in New York.

“The Secretary General…tasked to revive the Russia-NATO Council’s activity,” Lavrov said.

Russia has been wary of the United States backing a NATO missile defense system near its borders in Eastern Europe, and said the system threatens Russia’s security.

NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow said at the end of September that a compromise with Moscow on the missile defense system in Europe is possible despite the current deadlock.

Several prominent Russian researchers and military experts have recently supported NATO’s claims that the alliance’s plans are not targeting Russia, Vershbow said.

Proposals put forth by these experts and researchers would help Moscow and Brussels find common ground on the matter, Vershbow said at the Russia-NATO conference in Moscow on September 27.

The United States plans to deploy elements of its missile defense shield in Eastern Europe by 2020, allegedly to prevent threats from rogue states running their own missile programs such as Iran.

But Moscow said its own missiles also fall under the shield, which threatens the strategic parity between Russia and NATO. Negotiations on the missile shield were stalled in recent months, as the alliance began the program’s implementation and Russia threatened to deploy its own ballistic missiles on the European Union’s border.


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