Friday, January 13, 2012

Russia Open to NATO Defense Cooperation: Official

BRUSSELS - Russia's outgoing permanent representative to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, has pointed to the country's openness to defense cooperation with NATO partners at a press conference at NATO headquarters on Jan. 13.
"We should abandon any political confrontation [between NATO and Russia]," he said. "Russia is interested in enhancing its defense potential. ... Only partners trade arms."
He said Russia was very interested in cooperation with other countries on innovation, research and creating joint ventures. For example, he noted the country's interest in NATO projects such as Standex, or stand-off detection of suicide bombers.
He added that Russia will do all it can to have a modern military industrial complex and is also interested in cooperation with NATO partners in buying new types of armaments.
"In the 21st century, we believe that Russia should go back to fully fledged participation in Europe," he said.
Rogozin will be returning to Russia as vice prime minister in charge of defense industry policy. His tasks will include potential threats to Russia's security, including, the development of the country's navy.
Rogozin, who will be in charge of negotiations with the U.S. and NATO on the thorny issue of missile defense capacity, stressed that the system cannot contain "offensive elements" and must include a Russian role.
"If we believe the missile defense system is designed to give more security to Europe, then it can only be done with Russian participation" Rogozin said.
"If it is antagonistic to Russian interests ... this will lead to an exacerbation of relations with the West. It is up to our U.S. partners to come up with a system concentrated on deploying additional sites that does not infringe the interests of neighbors but engages neighbors in its work."

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