The Slovenia Times

NATO-Russia Cooperation Discussed at Brdo


Delivering his opening address to assembled security policy directors from foreign ministries of NATO member states and Russia and to representatives of the NATO-Russia political advisory group, Cerar pointed out that the meeting came after the first session of this sort was held three years ago in Rome.

He said that the Rome meeting had brought a number of fresh ideas and expressed his hope that the meetings would continue in the future.

NATO and Russia have been cooperating for more than 20 years and "there have been ups and downs in our relations", Cerar said, while stressing the need to follow the vision of building a real strategic partnership that will be strong and stable. Our joint interest is to build a Euro-Atlantic community where we feel safe, he added.

"Slovenia sees the NATO-Russia Council as a family of 29 and we know that relations in a family are not always easy. Sometimes we have different views on certain things, but in the end we find a compromise and an agreement on how to continue," Cerar said, pointing to new challenges in a changing world that can only be tackled together.

He mentioned missile defence as an example where views still diverged, but added that he was convinced that an open debate would allow the differences in this field as well as other areas to be bridged.

"Cooperation between NATO and Russia is not only the right choice but also the only choice," he said, pointing to Afghanistan as a case in point that showed how a joint effort and concrete results can be achieved and arguing that the NATO-Russia Council had not yet utilised its full potential.

The participants of the two-day meeting, which was closed down for the public after the opening address, are to discuss today joint efforts for peace, security and stability, and the strengthening of mutual trust and transparency in the NATO-Russia Council. Possibilities of the body's further engagement in Afghanistan are on the agenda for Friday.


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