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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid