NATO Supremo: Russia Is No Longer Threat to West

World | December 17, 2009, Thursday // 16:51|  views

NATO Secretary-General Rasmussen, on a three-day visit to Moscow, rejected a Russian proposal for a new security treaty, but stressed the need for continued cooperation. Photo by BGNES

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary-General, has urged greater cooperation between NATO and Russia in Afghanistan, but has dismissed a Russian proposal for a new security treaty.

Rasmussen has announced this at a Moscow news briefing on Thursday, following his talks with PM Vladimir Putin and other Russian leaders.

"I do not see a need for new treaties or new legally binding documents because we do have a framework already," he stated.

While reiterating that he was always "prepared to discuss the ideas in the right forum", Rasmussen also reminded that the 56-member Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) was such a forum.

On his first visit to Moscow since taking up the top NATO post, Rasmussen has repeatedly said that recent disagreements should not prevent Russia and the military alliance from confronting the common security threat in Afghanistan posed by the Taliban.

He admitted that he had not yet received any firm offer of support from Russia in response to his requests for military equipment and training support, but said that he had never expected such an assurance this week.

Rasmussen has been trying to gather more support for the fight against the Taliban after US President Barack Obama promised to commit 30 000 more troops.

Moscow still views NATO, its Cold War enemy, with suspicion. Ties have been severely strained by the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia and by US-backed plans to invite more former Soviet states to join the NATO alliance.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had published a draft post-cold war security pact on November 29, saying it would replace NATO and other institutions, and restrict the ability of any country to use unilateral force.

While Rasmussen has firmly rejected this proposal, he announced that he looked forward with optimism to further cooperation on the issue of common defense.

"By 2020, cooperation between NATO and Russia on missile defense will have advanced to the point where we are able to link our systems to create a genuine missile shield in the Euro-Atlantic area. Which will not only protect us all against proliferation, but bind us together politically as well," he concluded.

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Tags: NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Vladimir Putin, Dimitry Medvedev, Barack Obama, Afghanistan mission, Russia, Georgia, missile defense

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