The US Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs spoke in Lisbon about the improving relationship between NATO and the Russian Federation.
Marc Grossman, number three in the US State Department, told his Portuguese counterparts in the Portuguese Foreign Ministry that the relationship between the Russian Federation and NATO is an ever-improving one, as he prepared the forthcoming NATO summit at Prague, in November.
At this meeting, the main items on the agenda will be enlargement to the east, an analysis of NATO’s capacities, examining its structures and methods of deployment and new developments in relations, such as with the case of the Russian Federation.
This new climate of increasing friendship is expected to be translated in tangible gains for the Russian Federation, namely confirmation of its status as a permanent member of a joint council with NATO, in which it will have a greater power of expression than the current situation, in which Russia may request a consensus of opinion in the event of crisis management. This council is expected to be set up at the next NATO meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland, on 14th and 15th May.
This new cooperative council is also expected to operate in concrete missions, such as the control of arms, working together against proliferation and combating international terrorism. Moscow is seen as being rewarded for its valuable cooperation in the aftermath of September 11th, cooperation which is understandable since Russia has its own problem with Al-Qaeda and international Islamic fundamentalism in Chechnya.
Russia has recently complained that the organs currently in operation do not allow Moscow a strong enough voice in consultations on international policy, stating that the western nations have the habit of previously concerting policy between themselves before Russia has been consulted. The new situation will elevate Moscow to the status of equality regarding consultations on crisis management.
This is yet another important success for the administration of President Vladimir Putin.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru
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