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Russia welcomes NATO's willingness to resume cooperation

RIA Novosti

05/03/2009 19:12 MOSCOW, March 5 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Foreign Ministry welcomed on Thursday NATO's willingness to resume cooperation, but said a decision to restart the Russia-NATO Council can only be made on a joint basis.

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer made the announcement earlier in the day, after meeting with foreign ministers from the alliance's member states.

The work of the Russia-NATO Council was suspended by the alliance unilaterally in September 2008, after Russia's retaliation to Georgia's attack on South Ossetia in August.

"This decision is a step in the right direction, and we note with satisfaction that common sense has prevailed at NATO," Foreign Ministry spokesman Igor Lyakin-Frolov told RIA Novosti.

Scheffer had also said NATO was ready to discuss a proposal by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on the establishment of a new European security system.

On Wednesday, Russia's envoy to the military alliance, Dmitry Rogozin, said the work of the Russia-NATO Council could resume later this month. He also said the "period of estrangement" in Russia-NATO relations is "largely behind us."


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