Expert Group headed by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright invited NATO to expand cooperation with Russia on all levels, but made it clear that relations with Moscow will not please all members of the alliance.
Introducing the report of the expert group in the NATO headquarters in Brussels, Albright noted that the successful cooperation of a military bloc with Russia would benefit all stakeholders.
“For historical and geographical reasons, some NATO members are more pessimistic than others about Russia’s commitment to positive relations – said Albright. – It is obvious that NATO’s interests are fully consistent with the work with Moscow in order to create a constructive Euro-Atlantic order and solve common problems we face terrorism, nuclear proliferation, piracy and drug smuggling. “
C in terms of the alliance the door to cooperation with Moscow should be open at all levels
Madeline Albright, head of the group of NATO experts
“As we know, the partnership requires efforts from both sides – continued Albright. – But in terms of the alliance the door to cooperation with Moscow should be open at all levels.”
Relations between NATO and Russia have deteriorated sharply after the Russian-Georgian military conflict, which sharply in Brussels condemned. Then, the alliance announced the freezing of cooperation with Moscow, but in January this year, military coordination has been renewed.
In February, Russia has expressed concern in connection with talk about the fact that the new NATO strategy suggests the possibility of using military force around the world.
What they said “wise men”
It is expected that the new concept will be approved at the next NATO summit in Lisbon, which will be held in November. Its development involved a group of prominent experts and former diplomats called “Council of Wise Men”, whose members recently traveled to Moscow for consultations.
The new strategic concept of NATO alliance should set objectives for the next decade and to identify methods for their solution. Among the problems that are not mentioned in the previous strategy – global warming, energy supplies, cyberattacks and maritime piracy.
Earlier, at a conference in Prague, Albright talked about the importance of the “reboot” of relations with Russia, but at the same time, she said, it is necessary to assure members of the alliance that Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is the key to the organization.
According to this article, in case of an armed attack on a NATO member other members of the alliance should help it, “including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic region.”
Currently, NATO has 26 European countries, as well as the U.S. and Canada. In addition, the organization has 40 partners, including Russia, Australia, India, Pakistan and Japan. They were, by treaty, alliance members are not required to defend.
Preparation of a new NATO strategy complicated the contradictions within the alliance. Some allies would like to see NATO functions limited to protecting its own members, the other part – including the U.S. and Britain – in favor of greater authority.
This would imply, in particular, the mission outside the traditional area of NATO, including – patrolling the African coastal waters to combat pirates.
Recent conflicts over the powers of the alliance – the debate about the war in Iraq: few countries (among them – France, Germany and Belgium) were against it and against participation in the NATO contingent.
Russia is ahead of NATO’s own military doctrine publication for nearly a year: President Dmitry Medvedev has approved a document at the beginning of February. The previous two versions were adopted in 1993 and 2000.
Under the doctrine, Russia reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to the application against her or her allies of any weapons of mass destruction. The authors of the document, Russia is to be feared above all to strengthen NATO through the accession of new members and the deployment of missile defense systems.
In addition, the new Russian doctrine stipulates the right of Russia to use its armed forces abroad “in order to protect the interests of Russia and its people but also for the maintenance of international peace and security.”
After the publication of the doctrine of NATO Secretary General, Mr. Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said that it “does not reflect reality” and “clearly contrary to all of our efforts to improve relations between NATO and Russia.”