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Russia-NATO Council should meet in early summer - Russian envoy


MOSCOW, March 27 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow suggests holding a ministerial meeting of the Russia-NATO Council between May 18 and June 6, Russia's NATO envoy said on Friday.

"This must be a political session that could provide for the full resumption of Russia and NATO cooperation. We offer for the agenda of this session discussions of the initiative proposed by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on resetting the template for European security, but other topics are possible," Dmitry Rogozin said.

Medvedev first proposed last June that a new European security treaty be drawn up at a pan-European conference.

At the time Medvedev said that any new security arrangements should be based on "pure" national interests, not skewed by ideological motives, adding that "organizations operating in the Euro-Atlantic region" should also be allowed to take part.

Rogozin also said that Russia had still not made a decision on resuming full cooperation with the military alliance.

"I can say that Russia has not yet decided on the resumption of full-fledged cooperation with NATO, above all in the military sector," he said.

The work of the Russia-NATO Council was suspended by the alliance unilaterally in September 2008, after Russia's retaliation over Georgia's attack on South Ossetia in August.

In response to NATO's decision to halt cooperation, Russia put on hold a number of programs, including the Partnership for Peace program, a high-ranking visit to Moscow, some joint naval training and NATO visits to Russian ports. However Russia continued its work with NATO on arms control, cooperation in airspace, and the war in Afghanistan.

After a meeting with foreign ministers from the alliance's member states on March 5, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer announced the alliance's decision to restart cooperation with Russia.

"We believe that the decision made on March 5 by foreign ministers of the alliance's member states in regard to Russia is not enough," Rogozin said, adding that the decision must be made not only by 26 NATO member states, but by Russia as well.

The Russian envoy said that the military alliance is also unwilling to learn the real reasons of the last year's military conflict between Tbilisi and Moscow adding that an independent commission is currently investigating the last August's events.

"We are confused that while everyone is waiting for the results of this commission NATO has not been shy about addressing fairly aggressive words to Russia, calling our actions unacceptable and disproportionate," he said.

NATO called Russia's military response to Georgia's attack on South Ossetia "disproportionate" and condemned Moscow's decision in late August to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states.

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