Russian Security Council Secretary: Intensified Cooperation Between Russia And NATO--serious Factor In Strengthening Stability

Russian Security Council Secretary Vladimir Rushailo believes that cooperation between Russia and NATO can become a serious factor in strengthening stability. He made this statement at a meeting with NATO Secretary General George Robertson in the Kremlin on Friday. As was pointed out by Vladimir Rushailo, in relations between Russia and NATO it is necessary "to draw a clear line between questions of defence policy and of security." Defence issues are the internal matter of NATO. In this sphere, the Alliance is to independently define the parameters of the changes in its policy, he said. However, Vladimir Rushailo noted that he hailed contacts between the defence ministries of Russia and NATO. Such contacts have become more frequent of late, he said. The main thing at the present stage is "to expand cooperation in the sphere of security, that is, in the fight against new threats and challenges, terrorism, organised crime, non-proliferation of mass destruction weapons and the elimination of the consequences of emergency situations," stated Vladimir Rushailo. In connection with this, he called for transforming the 19-plus-one formula into the 20 formula which grants Russia the right to vote, as all the 19 member countries of the Alliance have, in adopting decisions on a whole number of questions. For his part, George Robertson pointed out that Russia and NATO had to find ways for developing their relations not only within their format, but also the content.

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