The session of the Russia-NATO Council takes place in Moscow on June 26. The event will mark two anniversaries: the tenth anniversary of the fundamental treaty of relations between Russia and NATO and the fifth anniversary of the council itself. The meeting in Moscow is not going to be devoted to festive subjects, though. Russian and NATO officials will pay first priority to USA’s plans to deploy missile defense systems in Europe.
NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer will discuss a number of complicated questions. The most important one of them is connected with discrepancies between Russia and NATO regarding the global air defense program. Russia has repeatedly expressed its concerns over USA’s plans to deploy a radar station in the Czech Republic and ten interceptor missiles in Poland. Kremlin officials believe that the creation of the European missile defense system should be interpreted as the transformation of the US defense presence in Europe. NATO officials deny such allegations. “When we have ten interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic, it will show absolutely no influence on Russia’s opportunities,” Jaap de Hoop Scheffer stated.
NATO chief offers Russia to send specialists to Poland for them to see that US missiles are not going to be aimed at Russia. Scheffer said that the missile defense system in Europe would be aimed against Iran and North Korea. Russia offered the USA an alternative – the radar station in Gabala, Azerbaijan. Gabala is situated closer to Iran and North Korea. The US administration has not given that offer a profound consideration yet.
The Russia-NATO Council was established on May 28 2002 at the Russia-NATO summit in Rome for holding consultations and maintaining peace and security. NATO is determined to continue that course in the future too. “NATO needs Russia, and Russia needs the Alliance. We must conduct discussions, otherwise we will not be partners,” Scheffer said.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov