BRUSSELS, January 28. /ITAR-TASS/. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen welcomed sustainable high-level talks between the Western military alliance and Russia as he opened his meeting on Tuesday with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Brussels.
Lavrov, who arrived in Brussels earlier in the day for the 32nd Russia-EU summit, is expected to discuss with Rasmussen a set of bilateral and international issues, including the situation in Afghanistan, Syria and Iran, as well as a controversial dispute over US missile shield plans in Europe.
Lavrov’s talks with Rasmussen follow last week’s session of the Russia-NATO Council in Brussels, held within frames of the 170th NATO Chiefs of Defense meeting and attended by the Chief of the Russian General Staff, General Valeri Gerasimov.
Although Russia and NATO cooperate in many areas, both sides have been in a long dispute over US missile shield plans in Europe, which the United States said was aimed to defend its allies from possible missile threats emerging from Iran and North Korea.
Russia viewed the deployment of the missile shield near its borders as a threat to its national security and in 2011 then-President Dmitry Medvedev announced a set of measures to counter the US-proposed missile defense system in Europe. The measures particularly included the construction of new air-defense radar systems and deployment of Iskander missiles in Russia’s Kaliningrad Region, which borders Europe.