Moscow regards NATO as an important partner in countering new threats, and Russia is ready to develop close interaction with the alliance in this sphere, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia Alexander Yakovenko said in the interview given to RIA Novosti on the threshold of a visit of NATO Secretary-General George Robertson to Russia. Robertson will pay a working visit to Russia from November 21 to 23. As RIA Novosti told in the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, his talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Igor Ivanov, Minister of Defence Sergei Ivanov, and Secretary of the Security Council Vladimir Rushailo, as well as a meeting with the top executives of the Volgograd Region (the Volga area) are planned. The questions of imparting new quality to Russia-NATO relations, of deepening cooperation in the fight against terrorism, and of countering the new challenges will hold the central place at the talks. Separate regional problems will also be considered. According to Yakovenko, Robertson's visit to Moscow is taking place against the background of the comprehension by the world community of the reality of the threat on the part of international terrorism to joint democratic development and to international law and order. "For its part, Russia deems it necessary to pool the efforts of the entire international community in the struggle against this evil of the 21st century", Yakovenko pointed out.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea