News / Europe

    Russia and NATO to Cooperate on Key Issues

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, center, participates at the start of the NATO Russia Council Meeting Working Session at the NATO Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, 20 Nov. 2010
    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, center, participates at the start of the NATO Russia Council Meeting Working Session at the NATO Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, 20 Nov. 2010

    At the recent NATO summit, the 28-member alliance agreed to end military operations in Afghanistan by 2014 if conditions are right. The leaders also agreed to a new mission statement. But many analysts say the meeting between NATO leaders and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was the highlight of the Lisbon meeting.

    Russia-NATO issues

    The meeting between President Medvedev and NATO leaders was held in the context of the Russia-NATO council which brings together the 28 members of the Western alliance plus Russia. It was a parallel meeting to the official NATO summit and provided a venue to discuss issues important to both sides.

    Missile defense

    One of the key issues discussed was 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 says the Obama administration proposed a more mobile, regional missile-defense system. And that system was approved by the NATO leaders.

    "They have agreed in principle to begin the process of building an architecture for ballistic missile defense that would in theory cover all of Europe," Kay said. "I am not sure that's actually technically possible at this stage, but it is a significant victory diplomatically for the Obama administration. It is a major shift from the hard, heavy pressing for ballistic missile defense that the Bush administration pushed through and only got begrudging acceptance of that in the NATO alliance and of course, very much upset the Russians at the same time."

    Missile defense cooperation

    But in what many analysts say is a major shift, President Dmitry Medvedev has accepted a NATO invitation to cooperate on missile defense. Lowell Schwartz is a NATO and security expert with the RAND Corporation.

    "Russia has been firmly in opposition," Schwartz said. "And this has been a major bone of contention, and the fact that Russia and the president (Medvedev) has agreed that Russia will certainly not stand in the way and would like to help and participate, is a very important milestone."

    Promising shift

    The head of the private research firm, the Arms Control Association, Daryl Kimball, says Moscow's shift is promising.

    "But as you heard from the Russian officials, they still have a lot of questions about how this might work," said Kimball. "They want to make it clear that this should not simply be a defense for Western Europe and not European Russia. And there has been talk, we have to remember, for decades about potential cooperation between the United States and Russia on missile defense sharing technology, sharing early-warning radars, but that cooperation is going to be much more difficult to achieve when you get down to brass tacks and we will have to see how this develops."

    On Afghanistan, Russia has agreed to facilitate and expand railway transit of non-lethal supplies from Europe to that country.

    Daryl Kimball says this is part of the Obama administration's efforts to reset relations with Moscow.

    "Russia's cooperation mainly has to do with helping NATO with its supply lines going into Afghanistan," Kimball added. "It means the United States does not have to depend solely on supply lines through Pakistan which is very important for NATO, gives it greater flexibility. And so I think that is another sign that the Obama administration approach with Russia is paying dividends in terms of tangible Russian cooperation on issues that matter to the United States and NATO."

    But Sean Kay says Russia helping NATO in Afghanistan can be a double-edged sword.

    "Because at the same time they can signal support for access to corridors, they are also sending the message that we also have the power to shut that down if things do not go our way," Kay said.

    Support for START

    Analysts say NATO leaders also provided a boost to President Barack Obama when they expressed support for the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty between Washington and Moscow. The U.S. Senate is supposed to vote on whether to ratify the treaty, but the timeframe is uncertain.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.