Source Pravda.Ru

Russia to have a voice in NATO?

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov declared yesterday that the Russian Federation wants to be involved in NATO’s decision-making process. He stated that “The principle of our proposals consists of creating a new co-operation mechanism for the equality of the member countries of NATO and the Russian Federation, the aim being for Moscow to have the right to express its views, the right to take decisions”.

Mr. Ivanov added “In the future, this could mean the end of the present form of co-operation between the Russian Federation and NATO, through the Permanent Council. This mechanism practically does not function, we are all convinced of this and recognise the fact”.

There is already a Permanent Council, which was set up in 1997 but its role is purely consultative, without their being any mechanism for Russian feedback to be translated into policy.

Mr. Ivanov’s statements come one week after British prime Minister Tony Blair declared that there should be a reform in the relations between Moscow and NATO and that a new Permanent Council should be set up which established closer co-operation and wider parameters for Russian collaboration with NATO.

NATO Secretary-General Lord Robertson begins a three-day visit to the Russian Federation today.

Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru