Hopes high on “resetting” Moscow-NATO relations

Ahead of the NATO-Russia Council summit next week, Russia’s ambassador to the alliance has said Moscow is ready to provide maintenance for Soviet and Russian military equipment used by NATO forces in Afghanistan.

In an interview to Kommersant daily, Dmitry Rogozin noted this is part of a new cooperation treaty to be signed on December 4 in Brussels.

The equipment in question is still used by many former Eastern Bloc countries that are among NATO's new members.

“Taking into account the large amount of Soviet military equipment in disposal of NATO’s new members, we are ready to provide its maintenance. Take military and transport helicopters only – there are more than 400 of them outside Russia,” Rogozin told Kommersant.

He added that Russia is now close to an agreement with the NATO Maintenance and Supply Organization (NAMSO).

“In case the talks are a success, we will get what we have been wanting for a long time – a possibility to contact with the alliance and its members without intermediaries represented by some Eastern European countries,” Rogozin concluded.

The new treaty is seen as part of improved relations between Russia and the alliance, which were severed following the war in South Ossetia in August last year.

It is also expected that, at next week’s summit, Russia will announce its formal return to some of NATO's international peacekeeping operations.

On Tuesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrey Nesterenko said Moscow pins great hopes on the forthcoming meeting:

“We attach great importance to the forthcoming meeting in the Russia-NATO Council format, one designed to discuss problems in relations with the alliance, as well as ways of reviving cooperation in the interests of strengthening stability and predictability of the military-political situation in the Euro-Atlantic space. As is common knowledge, NATO activities are an important factor influencing security near our borders,” Nesterenko briefed journalists.

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