Russian defense minister to attend NATO-Russia Council meeting

Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov will attend a NATO-Russia Council meeting at the level of defense ministers in Brussels on Wednesday, his spokeswoman Irina Kovalchuk said.

“The state and prospects of Russia-NATO military cooperation, as well as international security issues are expected to be discussed at the meeting,” Kovalchuk said, adding that special attention will be paid to missile defense issues.

NATO insists there should be two independent missile defense systems in Europe that exchange information, while Russia favors a joint system with shared responsibility and involvement.

“The Russia-NATO Council meeting at the level of defense ministers will be held for the first time since the cooling in relations caused by the events in the Caucasus in August 2008,” the spokeswoman said.

Russia recognized Abkhazia and another former Georgian republic, South Ossetia, in 2008. The move followed a five-day war with Georgia after it attacked South Ossetia, where most residents are Russian passport holders.

Russia’s decision has been condemned by many nations, including NATO members. Georgia considers the two regions part of its sovereign territory.

Kovalchuk said Serdyukov will also hold a number of bilateral meetings with his counterparts and the alliance’s leaders.


MOSCOW, June 8 (RIA Novosti)

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