Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Russia ready for more NATO cargo transits to Afghanistan


Russia ready for more NATO cargo transits to AfghanistanFacing the Taliban in Afghanistan
UN Secretary General welcomes Russia`s role in restoration of Afghanistan
CORFU (Greece), June 29 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is ready to extend the transit of military cargoes through Russia to other key member nations of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, a deputy foreign minister has said.
Russia already has bilateral transit deals with Germany, France and Spain, and Moscow also signed an agreement with NATO in 2008 on rail transits of non-lethal supplies to Afghanistan.
"As for military transits, we have signed agreements with Germany, France and Spain. We are also considering a request from Italy," Alexander Grushko told a news conference late on Sunday after an informal meeting of the Russia-NATO Council.
Due to worsening security on the main land route from Pakistan, NATO is seeking alternative routes to supply the U.S.-dominated ISAF in Afghanistan.
There are 62,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, and U.S. President Barrack Obama has pledged to deploy another 17,000 U.S. military personnel to the war-ravaged country.
The informal foreign ministerial meeting of the Council on Saturday was the first high-level talks since last August`s five-day war between Russia and Georgia, after which contacts were frozen. Russia then recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which was attacked by Tbilisi in an attempt to bring it back under central control.
Relations between Russia and NATO have also been frayed in recent years over the military alliance`s eastern expansion. Ukraine and Georgia, both former Soviet republics, have applied to join, but their U.S.-backed bids were turned down due to pressure from Germany and France at a 2008 NATO summit in Bucharest.
NATO and Russia have recently taken measures to step up cooperation on international security, including anti-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Aden.
Original article

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