Russia to set environmental protection priorities at coming NATO-Russia meeting

Russia is to point out the priorities in its cooperation with NATO countries in the environmental protection sphere during the NATO-Russia Council meeting in Madrid on Tuesday.

Russia's Deputy Natural Resources Minister Irina Osokina said the ministry's ecological safety department had drafted a special report on the issue. Earlier Russia developed a NATO-Russia environmental protection cooperation plan, adopted by the Atlantic Alliance's Secretary General, Lord George Robertson.

Osokina elaborated that the plan involved cooperation in 12 areas. Among these are creating environmentally friendly industrial technologies, safe handling of waste, including nuclear waste, safe transport of oil and the environmental implications of disposal of armaments and military hardware.

The specific projects will be discussed at the next meeting of NATO's Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society (CCMS), due to be held with Russia's participation in Ottawa, Canada, in October.

Some of the high-priority cooperation areas may be measures designed to prevent ecological terrorism, rehabilitation of territories polluted by military activities and safe conduct of space activities. The environmental aspects of peacekeeping operations should be paid particular attention, Russia's chief military ecologist Alevtin Yunak told RIA Novosti.

NATO-Russia cooperation in the environmental safety sphere has been pursued since 1993.

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