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8 Oct, 2014 12:54

Senior MP suggests canceling Russia-NATO cooperation agreement

Senior MP suggests canceling Russia-NATO cooperation agreement

The head of the Lower House Committee for Defense has said that in reply to Western sanctions Russia should repeal the law allowing NATO to transport military cargo and personnel through Russian territory.

In my view, the Russian law on the status of NATO forces on our territory should have been repealed a long time ago,” MP Vladimir Komoyedov of the Communist Party told the Interfax AVN news agency.“ Unfortunately, this law is still in force, despite the sanctions policy stepped up by the West in connection with the conflict in Ukraine,” the lawmaker added.

Komoyedov told reporters that the law was passed despite numerous protests from the opposition, including the Communist Party, and added that he was sure that eventually the contradictory law would be repealed.

However, in subsequent comments to the RIA Novosti news agency the MP said that repealing the law must not be done in a hurry.

We can cancel this anytime, but there is no need for hurrying. First we need to wait for a better situation under our country’s ‘belly’ – in Afghanistan,” he said.

The Federal Law ratifying the Russia-NATO cooperation agreement within the Partnership for Peace program was passed in mid-2007. It allows the Western military bloc to use Russian territory to transfer its cargo and forces, including heavy weaponry and combat aircraft.

The law came to public attention in 2011 after the International Coalition of Forces asked Russia for help in the withdrawal of troops and equipment from Afghanistan. Russian authorities agreed and a dedicated logistic center was built near the city of Ulyanovsk.

The center has sparked an intense debate in Russian society, as nationalists and Communists protested against it, claiming the hub was in reality a NATO base. Officials dismissed the allegations but eventually both Russia and NATO decided against using the Ulyanovsk transport center quoting the excessive cost of maintaining it.