For the first time in the past decade Russia and NATO are facing a common enemy - international terrorism, said Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov on Thursday, speaking before journalists after his meeting with NATO's Secretary-General George Robertson. "Both sides have realised that the world has substantially changed and they understand and recognise the fact that we have many common security problems," Ivanov stressed. "New threats and challenges," he remarked, "do not stem from the territory of NATO or Russia". The fact that we have a common enemy, Ivanov said, offers us a historical chance to put cooperation between Russia and NATO on a new and more qualitative level. According to Robertson, the current negotiations were devoted to a study and discussion of precisely these issues. The NATO secretary-general noted that in order to change the format of cooperation between this alliance of 19 states and Russia, each of the NATO member-countries "should take an appropriate decision for itself". According to him, all NATO's decisions are taken not by a vote, but by consensus, which is arrived at through talks and concessions. "The NATO leadership is now examining a series of proposals from the alliance's members /to review the format of relations with Russia/", Robertson said, "but if we are really interested in establishing this new format of relations with Russia in discussing global security, then, naturally, all NATO countries and Russia will have greatly to modify their former relations, their approaches to this issue". Ivanov agreed with Robertson that such serious agreement can be reached only through trade-offs. He remarked that the Russian side is not advancing any prior conditions in this context. A dialogue, said Ivanov, may deal with such problems as non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, transparency, and coordination of military doctrines and military planning.
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