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BRUSSELS, March 22 (Itar-Tass) — It will be difficult to hold the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) summit in Chicago because of the busy political agenda in the Russian Federation, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said here on Wednesday, answering journalists’ questions at a press conference after his meeting with the prime minister of Montenegro.
“I personally discussed with Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin the Chicago meeting prospects, and we reached a common understanding that it will be difficult to choose the time for the summit because of the busy internal political agenda in Russia during this period,” Rasmussen said.
At the same time he stressed that Russia and NATO seek to continue an active dialogue.
“We agreed that we will hold a bilateral meeting as soon as possible after the inauguration of the president of Russia. In addition, I can confirm that next month we will meet at the level of foreign ministers,” he said.
“It confirms that we are committed to continue the dialogue and practical cooperation before Chicago and after Chicago, because our relationship with Russia – it’s not a question of one day or one session, but a long-term process,” he concluded.
The NATO-Russia Council was established at the NATO-Russia Summit in Rome on 28 May 2002. It replaced the Permanent Joint Council (PJC), a forum for consultation and cooperation created by the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security, which remains the formal basis for NATO-Russia relations. The NRC is a mechanism for consultation, consensus-building, cooperation, joint decision and joint action, in which the individual NATO member states and Russia work as equal partners on a wide spectrum of security issues of common interest.
The Summit of the NATO Heads of State and Government will be held in Chicago in late May. The missile defence issue will be in the focus at this meeting. It was initially planned that a NATO-Russia Council meeting at the top level would be held within the framework of the Chicago summit.