NATO Military Structures Back Cooperation With Russia

Two main NATO military structures, namely the Nuclear Planning Group and the Defence Planning Committee, are supporting cooperation with Russia in the sphere of strategic stability. US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld addressed eighteen defence ministers of the NATO member-states (excluding France) who met on December 18 in Brussels within the framework of the winter session of the North Atlantic Council of Defence Ministers. He informed the NATO allies about the results of the Russo-American exchange of views on the new strategic situation. "We totally support the efforts targeted at developing bilateral cooperation based on mutual interests, and enforcing strategic stability and cooperation in the sphere of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction," the final communique jointly issued by the Nuclear Planning Group and the Defence Planning Committee, reads. The ministers have also voiced their high appreciation of the results of the November 13-14 negotiations between the Russian and American Presidents. They hope that "the atmosphere of trust and cooperation" in the issues of international security and strategic stability will subsequently spread to the whole set of the Russia-NATO relations, particularly, to the issues of nuclear armaments. The communique also includes an appraisal of George W. Bush's determination to reduce the American nuclear arsenal within the next decade and of Vladimir Putin's statement indicating Russia's intention to do the same. The 18 defence ministers have stated their satisfaction with the "promising progress" of the consultations which are being held within the framework of the NATO-Russia Permanent Council, especially, of the NATO-proposed nuclear security and trust measures.

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