Source Pravda.Ru

Russian senator on Russia-NATO relations

The recent Nato summit in Istanbul and the session of the Russia-Nato Council have shown that there can be positive moments in Russia-Nato relations, Mikhail Margelov, chairman of the international affairs committee of the Federation Council, told RIA Novosti.

"Common positions on a series of issues, in particular, on countering the terrorist threat, are undoubtedly a good incentive for rapprochement," he remarked. "Nato's intention of expanding its interests in Asia and the Middle East will also force us to co-operate closer. On the one hand, Russia is interested in security and stability in the Middle East and the Asian region, and understands that Nato's stronger military contingent in Afghanistan and more active efforts in the Middle East will help stabilise the situation in the region. On the other hand, we have our own serious interests there, and certain historical influence. Therefore, the main thing is to work out partnership approach in these regions with the UN's undoubted participation," stressed Margelov.

"The current summit has shown how broad the spectrum of co-operation between Russia and Nato is. Besides, a series of disputable issues remain unsolved in some areas, for example, the CFE Treaty," said the senator.

"The Istanbul agreements of 1999 did not lay down any specific timeframe for withdrawing Russian troops from Moldova and Georgia, and the withdrawal of troops from these republics was mainly determined by bilateral agreements between Moscow, Tbilisi and Chisinau. The process is continuing, and the link between the CFE Treaty ratification by Nato countries and its end does not ensue from the Istanbul agreements of 1999," said Margelov.

"Considering the current geopolitical situation in the region, Russia generally fulfils its obligations to pull out troops depending on the situation in the region. Hence, the delay with the CFE Treaty ratification is the delay in the whole process of establishing a new mutually advantageous balance of forces in the region and another excuse for aggravating tensions. Nonetheless, Moscow has fortunately managed to lay out clearly its position on the CFE Treaty, and now the sides understanding each others' positions have the potential to find compromise solutions," said the chairman of the Duma committee.