Russia-NATO Council will expand its political dialogue

The Russia-NATO Council has confirmed its determination to expand the political dialogue on important issues of security in the European region, including arising crises, with the aim of promoting common positions and defining optimal common approaches and possible joint actions, says the statement on the results of the Council session at the level of Foreign Ministers held on Thursday in Brussels.

The sides hailed Russia's proposal to render practical assistance to the international forces, acting under the NATO aegis, in the sphere of security in Afghanistan.

Apart from that, the statement says, the ministers welcomed the Council's concrete political initiatives in encouraging reforms in the defense and other spheres in Bosnia and also in establishing efficient border control in South East Europe.

The Council supported the efforts of the UN Secretary General's special representative on stabilizing the situation in Kosovo and pointed out the necessity of cooperation of the countries in the region with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

The Russian and NATO Foreign Ministers noted the progress in all spheres of practical cooperation within the framework of the Council, including the fight against terrorism, cooperation between the military, development of military compatibility of the armed forces of Russia and NATO, the continuing dialogue and cooperation in a number of aspects in the nuclear sphere and development of the experimental concept of operations in Theater Missile Defense.

The sides have agreed, the statement says, to expand the current dialogue on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and also to study further possibilities of practical cooperation.

The Council thanked NATO Secretary General George Robertson for his great contribution in creating qualitatively new relations between Russia and the NATO member-countries. In this connection it expressed its confidence that the new chairman of the Council, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, would continue promoting these relations, and on this basis would multiply the Council's achievements.

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