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Senior diplomat discusses Russia-NATO cooperation in Afghanistan after 2014

September 29, 2012, 8:33 UTC+3

The program is vital for the U.S.-led international forces in Afghanistan in view of permanent problems with the delivery of cargoes via Pakistan

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UNITED NATIONS, September 29 (Itar-Tass) — Cooperation between Russia and NATO in Afghanistan after 2014 should be based on appropriate decisions of the UN Security Council, which has not taken any decisions in this respect for the time being, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told a group of Russian reporters at the UN headquarters Friday.

“At present, this cooperation is based on a UN Security Council resolution and we proceed from the assumption that if NATO continues experiencing a need for Russia’s assistance after 2014, then it will also be based on a decision, which the Security Council will have to pass,” he said.

At the moment, Russia and NATO have a number of agreements on cooperation concerning Afghanistan. First and foremost among them is a program for deliveries of non-military cargoes to and from Afghanistan via the Russian territory.

The program is vital for the U.S.-led international forces in Afghanistan in view of permanent problems with the delivery of cargoes via Pakistan. Also, Russian technical experts do the maintenance of helicopters purchased for the Afghan Army in the U.S.

The Russian Interior Ministry helps with the training of officers for Afghan security units that are supposed to fight with the production and trafficking of drugs.

According to Alexander Grushko, Russia is ready to expand it joint projects with NATO concerning Afghanistan and “bring other players into them, too,” but this will require a resolution of the UN Security Council.

He recalled the North-Atlantic Pact is currently designing a new strategy for Afghanistan after 2014 when ISAF’s last combat units pull out of the country. NATO plans suggest that control over the situation in the landlocked impoverished country will be handed over to the 228,000-strong Afghan Army, the upkeep of which will cost $ 4.1 billion over a period of ten years.

Along with this, Russia has questions over the North-Atlantic pact’s plans to keep military bases in Afghanistan after 2014, allegedly for antiterrorist operations and for support to Afghan security forces.

“One may suppose NATO will be turning to the Security Council for permissions to train the /Afghan/ cadres for the Interior agencies and the Armed Forces, Grushko said.

“There should be no other military functions and everything that spreads beyond the task of facilitating the Afghan stabilization will undermine regional security and generate an even greater uncertainty,” he added.

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