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354 words - April 25, 2013 | © DiploNews, all rights reserved.
While NATO is preparing to end its military operation in Afghanistan (ISAF), the cooperation between NATO and Russia is improving the security situation in Afghanistan, the fight against terrorism and narcotics, and anti-piracy activities, affirmed Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet.
The NATO-Russian Council session on April 23, with the participation of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, confirmed the common interest in the further development of pragmatic cooperation, chiefly about a stable and secure Afghanistan. NATO and Russia agreed on continuing the common project of providing operational Afghani helicopters, developing the Northern Distribution Network and there is now some hope for progress on missile defense, said Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak. His Hungarian counterpart Janos Martonyi confirmed the session "took place in a very good mood," a sign that "the relations between NATO and Russia are improving," he said. The Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics also made note of such a positive cooperation. As a step towards greater mutual trust and more reciprocal transparency, Mr. Rinkevics proposed information exchange about the Russia-Belarus military exercise, Zapad-2013, scheduled for this year, and NATO's Exercise Steadfast Jazz 2013. Neither NATO nor Russia have commented on the proposal so far.
Syria was also at the center of the talks, and diplomatic sources told DiploNews that Russia might accept a UN resolution which would address the deteriorating humanitarian situation. NATO and Russia also agreed that no military intervention could resolve the crisis and that the emphasis must be put on political solutions, though US Secretary of State John Kerry called on NATO to assess its preparedness to respond to a potential chemical weapons threat. "What there was from me was a very clear statement about the threat of chemical weapons and the potential for chemical weapons generically to fall into bad hands. And what I did suggest to everybody was we therefore need to all be thinking about how we can get to the negotiating table to avoid an implosion of Syria which would be the worst consequence," Mr. Kerry told reporters after the NATO Ministerial in Brussels.
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