Lavrov upset by NATO’s ambiguous stance on Russia

Whether Russia attends NATO’s November's summit could depend on the attitude the Alliance displays towards Moscow, Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov has said.

As ties between Moscow and NATO are warming, Russia has been invited to take part in the organization's upcoming summit in Lisbon.

However Lavrov, who spoke about threats and challenges in the modern world in his interview with a weekly Russian news show, did not seem in a hurry to agree to the invitation.

Just before our flight to New York, we were invited to NATO's summit in Lisbon in November…Today, Russia asks several major questions. When it gets the answers, Russia will decide whether or not to attend. The first is: what attitude will be chosen towards Russia? The second is: how will NATO regard itself in relation to international law, and the prerogatives of the UN Security Council?” Lavrov said.

This week at a United Nations assembly in New York, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Russia and NATO could not afford to have poor relations and needed to improve ties in order to cooperate more closely on a number of issues.

“It is important that NATO members called for intensifying cooperation on practical issues – on Afghanistan, the fight against drug trafficking, terrorism, and missile defense,” Lavrov agreed.

“With regards to future strategy, it is necessary to understand the basis of our interaction. For instance, the 10-year-old Rome Declaration, which implies the principle of indivisibility of security, can take a new step forward – to take security equality across the Euro-Atlantic region and make it legally binding. And I was really surprised that NATO's reaction was that the Euro-Atlantic security architecture does not need this, or any other new documents, to refresh cooperation.”

Lavrov praised NATO’s strategic ideas, saying they “reflect modern-day realities and needs”, but lamented the alliance’s ambiguous position regarding Russia.

“On one hand, we are a partner but, on the other… NATO's new members should be protected from us,” he said.