News / Europe

Russian President to Meet NATO Leaders

Portuguese police search a vehicle entering Lisbon's Parque das Nacoes district on 17 Nov 2010 where leaders of NATO member countries will attend a summit 19 Nov and 20 Nov
Portuguese police search a vehicle entering Lisbon's Parque das Nacoes district on 17 Nov 2010 where leaders of NATO member countries will attend a summit 19 Nov and 20 Nov

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will meet NATO leaders in Lisbon, Portugal, as they attend their annual summit 19 Nov and 20 Nov. There are a host of issues the two sides will discuss.

Medvedev will meet NATO leaders in the context of the Russia-NATO Council, which brings together the 28 members of the Western alliance, plus Russia. It is a parallel meeting to the official NATO summit and provides a venue to discuss issues important to both sides.

During a recent trip to Moscow, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the meeting with President Medvedev in Lisbon will be "an opportunity to turn a new page and to bury the ghosts of the past."

One of the key issues to be discussed is missile defense. The Bush administration proposed to deploy ground-based ballistic-missile interceptors in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic. The Russians strongly opposed such a plan, saying it was aimed against Moscow - a view rejected by U.S. officials.

Ohio Wesleyan University NATO expert Sean Kay said President Barack Obama reconfigured missile-defense plans for Europe. "The Obama administration, and I think very wisely, shifted the focus to regional missile defense, theater missile defense capabilities, and the kinds of layers of missile defenses that already exist for troop protection and so forth, inside NATO planning."

Moscow's reaction to the latest missile defense plan, although not totally positive, was far less strident than its opposition to the Bush initiative. That has prompted NATO officials to seek cooperation with Russia, and that issue will be discussed at the summit.

Former U.S. ambassador to NATO in the Clinton administration Robert Hunter, who is now a scholar at the Rand Corporation, looks at Russia's apparently softening position.

"What has happened is that the Russians have come around to see that all they were doing was isolating themselves - they might actually get some benefits from it in terms of security and they can get some benefits from it in terms of industrial participation," said Hunter. "I think we also see Mr. Medvedev contrasting himself with prime minister, former president Vladimir Putin, to say, 'Look, we Russians will do better if we are working with the West and particularly the Europeans, than if we continue to stand aloof and play dog in a manger (spoiler).'"

NATO also is expected to discuss increased cooperation with Russia in Afghanistan. Russia allows NATO to transport non-lethal supplies from Europe to Afghanistan overland.

"The capacity to use Russia as a supply route, for at least some items, is helping to relieve the pressure on NATO forces in Afghanistan, who are finding certain vulnerabilities to the transit through Pakistan," said Hunter.

NATO officials say they want to expand the agreement to allow the transport of other items, such as heavy equipment. In addition, NATO wants Russia to provide 20 helicopters and pilot training to the Afghan army.

Kay said the relationship between Russia and NATO goes beyond cooperation over Afghanistan. "The bigger point is more symbolic and political: that the relationship can be renewed, rebuilt, rebooted and keep these kinds of architectures going between Russia and the West. Because at the end of the day, the West needs Russia on a range of issues from North Korea, to Iran, to Afghanistan and they [the Russians] continue to need the goodwill of the West on a wide range of things. So the interests converge and the NATO-Russia relationship is a good vehicle to keep those processes moving forward."

Analysts say one key irritant in relations between NATO and Russia has been taken care of: the alliance's eastward expansion, strongly opposed by Moscow. At the Lisbon summit, no new countries are to join NATO, and as one analyst put it, it appears that at this time, NATO enlargement has run its course.

You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs