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RF-NATO cooperation suspension to affect Afghans

April 03, 2014, 5:47 UTC+3 BRUSSELS
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BRUSSELS, April 03, /ITAR-TASS/. NATO's freezing of practical projects for cooperation with Russia is counterproductive, Russia's permanent representative to the North Atlantic alliance, Alexander Grushko, told reporters in Brussels on Wednesday.

As a member of the international community, Russia is responsible for maintaining international peace and stability and ready to continue cooperation with all the partners on global problems. Russia is particularly concerned over Afghanistan, where the situation is deteriorating, and the objectives set for NATO and the International Security Assistance Force are not attained, Grushko noted.

The decision of NATO would affect Afghans first of all, he said.

In Russian-NATO Council cooperation, the two sides carried out two major projects. The first is an antidrug project to train personnel for appropriate services of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asian countries. About 3,000 people have been trained. The project of the international community to combat drug threat from Afghanistan was not only that of Russia and NATO other international organizations participated, and much work was done, the envoy explained.

None can find shelter from the threat on any small islands of security. Only all together can cope with it. Largely because of NATO's inaction, the situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate, and production of narcotics in the country grew 40 percent last year as compared to 2012. Russia views the fight against the drug threat as a common task of the international community, also proceeding from U.N. Security Council resolutions, the diplomat noted.

Russia in any case would assist the Afghans to train personnel through bilateral channels of cooperation with the Afghan government with the participation of partners who would want to assist, he said.

The second project is the so-called helicopter package. It is very important to stabilize the situation in Afghanistan after 2014, when the ISAF mission ends. Soviet and Russian-made Mi-17 and Mi-35 helicopters are the basis of Afghanistan's Air Force. Without an air force, the Afghan army would be incapable and would not be able to ensure stability in the country after the ISAF withdrawal, the diplomat noted.

"One more group of Afghan technicians is undergoing training at a base in Novosibirsk to service helicopters. We believe the project is needed," Grushko said.

When asked about more than four million dollars Russia intended to give to the trust fund for the helicopter package, the diplomat said if the fund ceased to exist, naturally, the money would not be transferred, but would be used more efficiently.

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