Everybody knows: 19 + 1 = 20. Though this arithmetic exercise has different results in politics, which not always correspond with what was presented above. Russia-NATO consultations on forming new mechanism of co-operation in the framework of the new Group of Twenty, which now takes place in Moscow, seem to have come across some troubles. There is even an impression that the alliance represented at this round by NATO deputy secretary general Guenter Altenburg tries to step back from the earlier propositions about the new character of co-operation, proposed last November by British Prime-Minister Tony Blair. That was he who proposed idea of creating a new body, which should raise RF-NATO relations to a new level. According to the results of December sitting of RF and NATO foreign ministers Permanent Joint Council, an expert group was created, which must prepare generalized suggestions on concrete aspects of the new co-operation mechanism. At that time, the sides agreed that the “Twenty” could be formed by the next foreign ministers’ sitting of RF-NATO Permanent Joint Council in Reikyavik, in May 2002 or sooner. Among NATO states, there is a discussion about the role of Russia in the alliance. Some of them suppose that Russia must be a full member of the organization, including all rights and duties. Others propose to create a certain parallel NATO body, where Russia could be a full member. In the latter variant, Russia will not be admitted to planning of military operations and 5th Clause of NATO Charter (about joint response to attack of any member country) will not apply to Russia. So, and what does Russia get from such membership? Practically nothing: peacemaking operations and nuclear control. In other words, Russia is proposed to receive a place at the big table, though in the most distant corner: no main doors, no back entrance. The US does not take into account its allies’ position, while their resentful mumbling only irritates Washington. And what for do we need these so-called consultations? The conclusion is simple: the proposition is made to Russia, to avoid possible scandal in November, when the Baltic countries are admitted into NATO.
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/03/05/37897.html