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16 Dec, 2009 12:06

Russia – NATO talk Afghanistan, security

President Medvedev will entrust the government with looking into the NATO chief’s proposals on expanding Russia’s cooperation in Afghanistan, the Russian Foreign Minister said.

"The president promised that he would order the consideration of the practical proposals that the Secretary General made to the Russian Federation. We also expect our ideas to be considered by the alliance," Lavrov said following a meeting between Dmitry Medvedev and Anders Fogh Rasmussen.The NATO Secretary General is in Moscow for an official visit to discuss Russian help for NATO's war in Afghanistan, European security and some other issues.At the meeting with Rasmussen, Medvedev acknowledged that Russia and NATO areadding a new dimension to their relations."Today, after a series of meetings and decisions that have been made, our relations are entering a new level. This has been aided by your statement, made after your appointment to the post of NATO Secretary General, as well as our joint work," the Russian leader said.In turn, Rasmussen said that NATO is not a threat to Russia but rather a partner to deal with common threats. He pointed at terrorism as one of such threats and expressed his condolences over the Nevsky Express terror blast.He also confirmed that the situation in Afghanistan can turn into a real problem in terms of drug trafficking and terrorism and it can affect Russia as well.Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that one of his top priorities is to reinforce relations with Russia and to make the countries’ contacts more productive.Earlier in the day, Anders Rasmussen met the Russian foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.During his meeting with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Russian Foreign Minister said that Moscow is not inclined to dwell on differences with the alliance.Sergey Lavrov also expressed his satisfaction over NATO’s and Russia’s mutual interest in normalizing relations.“We appreciate your personal input into Russia-NATO Council talks on December 4. We have approved important agreements,” the Russian Foreign Minister said.Rasmussen pointed that, although there are differences between the alliance and Russia, they should not overshadow their shared interests.The NATO chief has also indicated that the past autumn marked a new period in relations between Russia and NATO. He added that the sides’ goal now is to develop practical cooperation.

Russian expectations

Russian authorities expect Anders Fogh Rasmussen to elaborate on the alliance’s official stance on the Russian-proposed European security treaty.That is according to Russia’s envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin."As far as our interests are concerned, these are absolutely concrete issues. First of all, we would like to hear NATO's official position on a European security treaty,” Rogozin told Russian newspaper Izvestia.“We need to understand whether or not we will be able to reach an agreement on its basic principles," he added.Dmitry Rogozin said that the Afghan issue will also be on the agenda of the Rasmussen’s Moscow meetings."We want NATO officials to tell us about their plans and their vision of the situation in the region," he said. Rogozin pointed out that Russia wants its relations with the alliance to become more predictable.After his meeting with Sergey Lavrov, Rasmussen is expected to hold talks with President Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, and other top officials.