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Russia ready to accredit NATO diplomats for permanent work in Moscow

RIA Novosti


BRUSSELS, February 26 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is ready to provide permanent accreditation for NATO diplomats in Moscow in a sign of warming ties with the alliance, the country's envoy to NATO said on Friday.

A diplomatic scandal between Russia and NATO took place in late April - early May 2009, when the alliance withdrew the accreditation of two Russian diplomats at NATO headquarters in Brussels. One of the diplomats was the 23-year-old son of Vladimir Chizhov, Russia's EU envoy.

In response, Russia expelled two Canadian diplomats working in NATO's Information Office in Moscow.

"We are looking for information from NATO on who will work in NATO's Information Office on a permanent basis," Dmitry Rogozin said, adding NATO diplomats are currently working in the Russian capital on a temporary basis.

NATO froze ties with Russia following the August 2008 armed conflict with Georgia and the recognition by Moscow of Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

However, Russia-NATO ties have improved in recent months as a result of a course towards "resetting" thorny relations between Moscow and Washington taken by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama.

In late January, the Russian and NATO chiefs of staff met in Brussels for the first time since their relations became warmer. As a result of the talks, a framework military cooperation treaty was approved, which is seen as an important step toward the restoration of military ties between Russia and the alliance.

Top Russian and NATO military officials will next meet on May 6 in Brussels to finalize the draft treaty.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen expressed hope in December 2009 that the alliance and Russia would establish a joint missile defense system by 2020.

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