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Azerbaijan radar not an alternative - NATO chief

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer says the Gabala radar station in Azerbaijan is not enough to counteract the missile threat to Europe and is not an alternative to the U.S. anti-missile defence system proposed for Europe.

On the second and final day of his visit to Russia Mr de Hoop Scheffer said Moscow's proposal to use Azerbaijan's Gabala radar station jointly with the United States is insufficient to counteract the possible missile threat from Iran and North Korea.

He also stressed that Russia and NATO must continue to discuss the subjects they disagree on. During his visit he held talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and President Vladimir Putin.

“We must continue to discuss the subjects that we do not see eye to eye on – be it Kosovo, be it missile defence, or the CFE in Europe treaty,” stated NATO's Secretary General.

“We discussed the questions in which Russia and NATO remain at a distance. In spite of all the disagreements we face we hope to better understand each other,” said Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov after the consultations.

It's ten years since the signing of the NATO-Russia Founding Act and five years since the creation of the NATO-Russia Council. The relationship has had its ups and downs and continues to face critical challenges.

There are four main points of disagreement between NATO and Russia.  

First, Russia continues to express concern over the alliance’s expansion into post-Soviet space, and is monitoring Ukraine and Georgia closely.  

Then there is the issue of a missile defence system in Eastern Europe.  The U.S. is strongly in favour of the system, but it's viewed by Russia as a threat to national security.

Moscow and NATO also disagree on the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty aimed at reducing heavy arms across the continent. Russia says it will pull out unless member countries of NATO, particularly new ones ratify it.  NATO wants Russia to withdraw all of its troops from Moldova and Georgia first.  

Finally, there is the matter of Kosovo: Russia is expected to veto a U.S.-backed resolution on supervised independence of Kosovo.  

Both sides know they are on different trajectories but they do share practical forms of co-operation. Russia now says it wants to play a part in stabilising Afghanistan – where NATO is in most need of Russian help.  

“NATO cannot do without its important partner Russia. And I think that Russia cannot do also without NATO,” said Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

“Our relationship with NATO has gone through profound changes. We've gone from confrontation to a period of co-operation,” remarked President Vladimir Putin.

Tatyana Parkhalina, political analyst from the Centre for European Security, says that Russia and NATO have no alternative but to co-operate.

To read full version of RT interview with Tatyana Parkhalina please follow this link