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31 Jan, 2008 05:34

Interview with Dmitry Rogozin

NATO should consider a possible transformation into a security system for the world's northern part, including Russia, as Russia's new envoy to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, told RT after his first meeting at a Russia-NATO Council.

Russia Today: Moscow has pulled out of the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty. Isn't that counter-productive, and what do you want to do now? Will you ever participate in that pact again?

Dmitry Rogozin: Control over armaments, especially in Europe, is extremely important. But it has to be equally secure for everybody. Russia ratified the CFE treaty, and I personally headed the international Duma committee back then, and told my colleagues in parliament that we should vote in support of the treaty. So the Duma did grant its support, but we were deceived – our colleagues in NATO did not follow. So we were abiding by the treaty and they were not.  We were saying – why should we pay for someone else? Why do we have to tolerate our security not being respected?

So we imposed a moratorium – we didn't withdraw from the treaty – it's just a moratorium. Then we said to our partners: be gentlemen – ratify the treaty and we will live in a united world. We have no aggressive intentions. No one wants war in Russia – we have no such mad men.

RT: Russia seems rather suspicious at NATO and nervous of its eastern expansion, especially now when Georgia and Ukraine want to join the alliance. But what does Russia really have to fear about NATO, given that NATO is the defensive coalition?

D.R.: The attitude of Ukrainians towards NATO is ambiguous, there are a lot of sceptics. And if Ukraine pursues the issue of joining NATO, it could split the country into two parts – one part, up to the Dnieper River, will decide to join the alliance, the other part, more oriented towards co-operation with Russia, will decide against it. NATO will be welcome by only half of Ukraine. Who wants it? Russia doesn't want it, NATO doesn't want it either.

Another issue is that NATO should think about its possible transformation into a security system for the North of the world, but together with Russia. We have common problems, common values – why can't we live together?  Why should we separate Ukraine, Georgia, the Baltic states and leave Russia alone, outside the bloc? We are allergic to such western scepticism, we don't understand it. Are we of a different sort? It encourages nationalism and isolationism within the country and it's quite dangerous.