Russia and NATO are reaching an agreement on anti-missile defense. According to RTR television company, this was announced by NATO General Secretary George Robertson after the meeting of the Russia-NATO Council in Moscow today. 'Only eighteen months ago this problem was regarded as the most controversial in the international community,' he said. Mr Robertson pointed out that Russian President Vladimir Putin had made certain proposals in this area. 'We considered them carefully and we also considered the US and European proposals. Now we have put them together to try to establish a concrete anti-missile defense programme,' said the NATO general secretary. He added that this programme could be called the 'flagman' of the council. In Mr Robertson's opinion, agreement on anti-missile defense has eased some of the tension among NATO members as all NATO members realise the new threats and the inadequacy of the existing answers to these threats.
'The existence of the Russia-NATO Council prevented the disagreement on the Iraq crisis from escalating into an international confrontation like there was in 1999 in Kosovo. It is bringing our relations to a new level. Now they are based on equality and respect. Even if we do not always agree with each other, at least we have learned to listen. That is a good sign,' said Mr Robertson.