Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is to attend the June 28 session of the Russia-NATO Council in Istanbul.
Talking to RIA Novosti, Alexander Yakovenko, who serves as the Russian Foreign Ministry's spokesman, noted the Russia-NATO Council's session intended to sum up the results of the Council's work over the last two years and to discuss specific prospects for expanding Russia-NATO interaction still further in the interests of enhancing security and stability all over common Euro-Atlantic space. (The Russia-NATO Council was established two years ago - Ed.)
Moreover, the session will examine topical international issues, including the situation in Afghanistan, efforts to fight Afghan drug barons, as well as the situation in Iraq and Kosovo.
According to Yakovenko, the Russia-NATO Council is an optimal structure for discussing current problems and concerns in a frank and trustful manner; the Council also makes it possible to tackle practical issues as regards expanded mutually-advantageous partnership.
We face common tasks in coping with challenges, such as international terrorism, regional crises, the proliferation of mass-destruction weapons and illicit drug trafficking, Yakovenko noted.
Lavrov will also discuss the subsequent ratification of the agreement on adjustment of the CFE (Conventional Forces In Europe) Treaty with his partners in Istanbul.
Moscow perceives no other alternative to enacting an adjusted CFE Treaty, Yakovenko added. The old-time CFE Treaty doesn't match current military-political realities (after the recent admission of several Eastern European countries into NATO), Yakovenko went on to say. We hope to conduct a detailed discussion as regards the need for ratifying the adjusted CFE Treaty as soon as possible with our partners, Yakovenko stressed. What we need is a political approach here; certain prospects lie ahead, Yakovenko noted.
In his words, the future of Russia-NATO partnership, as well as its subsequent development, depend on greater mutual trust and predictable relations, first and foremost; besides, the alliance should heed Russia's national-security interests.
Moscow hopes that the Istanbul conference will provide a political impulse to long-term cooperation projects under the auspices of the Russia-NATO Council; their list includes anti-terrorist operations, including the protection of the population against terrorist acts and their consequences, monitoring the non-proliferation of mass-destruction weapons, crisis management, THAADS (Theater-Level High-Altitude Area Defense System) issues, as well as the destruction of anti-personnel mine arsenals, Yakovenko said in conclusion.
Early reports by Pravda.Ru: