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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid