ATHENS, December 13, 5:42 /ITAR-TASS/. Russia and NATO must speed up the implementation of a pilot project to dispose of obsolete ammunition in Russia’s westernmost Kaliningrad region on the basis of a Russia-NATO Council agreement, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov told Russian reporters here on Thursday.“The disposal of ammunition of the war and Soviet times - this issue is even broader than the Kaliningrad region, but the first base pilot project envisages their disposal there,” Meshkov said. “A decision was made to launch a trust fund in which a number of European countries, including Germany, Poland etc, will participate apart from Russia,” he said.
The deputy minister said Russia had confirmed the readiness of the Russian Defence Ministry to make “our first financial contribution to that trust fund, which was voiced at the session”. “So we proceed from the fact that it is necessary now to maximally quickly prepare on all aspects of that work and this is exactly what we are doing now,” the diplomat said. “This concerns administrative, financial, and what is most important technical measures, to make everything safe, and maximally environmentally friendly, as the main idea behind the setting up of that trust fund is the disposal of ammunition without detonation, which is an absolutely new step from the point of view of safety and environmental friendliness,” he said.
In reply to the query about NATO’s transit base in Russia’s Volga River city of Ulyanovsk for the transportation of cargoes from Afghanistan, he said Russia was ready to offer such services, but NATO was not using that centre at the moment for economic considerations. “This is a matter of commercial interest,” he said, adding that there had been just one pilot supply within the last few months. “There is another question. We have repeatedly mentioned it, and (Foreign Minister) Sergei Lavrov told his NATO colleagues that if they were interested in using the northern route that goes across Russia in the future, after 2014, they would need a resolution from the UN Security Council, launching a new operation in Afghanistan”. He explained that all agreements with NATO countries on transit were “based on a corresponding resolution of the UN Security Council, which launched an operation of the International Security Assistance Force,” he explained.