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RNC Defence ministers to focus on Afghanistan, ABM, maneuvers, anti-terror

October 23, 2013, 4:49 UTC+3

A new-generation device to detect explosives is under development within the RNC framework

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BRUSSELS, October 23 (Itar-Tass) - The North Atlantic Alliance expects an in-depth discussion on the entire spectrum of military cooperation with the Russian Federation (RF) at a session of the Russia-NATO Council (RNC) session at Defence ministers' level on Wednesday, NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu told Itar-Tass in an interview.

"This will be an important meeting, for it will be the first opportunity for the Defence Ministers of the Alliance to meet in this format with their new Russian partner-- Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu. Twenty-nine participants in the RNC session will analyse all aspects of Russia-NATO military cooperation, partnership in the fields of security and defence, as well as that in the field of international security," she pointed out, recalling that this Defence ministers' meeting will be the first once since 2011.

The agenda of the session includes items regarding ABM deployment, cooperation on Afghanistan, fight against terrorism, plans for joint exercises, and interaction on logistical support.

"We have achieved much but the RNC potential is far from being tapped in full," Lungescu pointed out. "On Afghanistan, we have reached out to the second phase of using the RNC trust fund resources for the servicing of helicopters and the training of personnel needed for that. Due to this project, up to 20 percent of all air pilots of the Afghan Air Force were trained. Besides, this work makes it possible to provide Afghan helicopters (predominantly Soviet- and Russian-made ones) with Russian spare parts," the NATO spokesperson emphasized.

She pointed out that the so-called helicopterpackage and the RNC project for the training of anti-drug personnel for the special services of Afghanistan and Central Asia countries, the project which is being implemented on the basis of the Russian Interior Ministry's training center at Domodedovo, "are not linked in time to the period of operation of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) under the command of NATO". This signifies that Russia and NATO have no need to revise them in the context of the completion of the Alliance's operation in that country in 2014.

As far as fight against terrorism is concerned, the spokesperons of the Alliance pointed out the implementation of joint initiatives aimed at maintaining interaction between Russia and NATO with a view to preventing seizures of airliners. A new-generation device to detect explosives is under development within the RNC framework. The detectors can be used for spotting explosives in transport vehicles in time.

According to a source of Itar-Tass at the NATO headquarters, the sides stick to their own positions on the main problem of Russia-NATO relations -- the ABM system. The positions "will be spoken of at the session once again". "Despite the lack of a compromise on ABM, NATO remians committed to the development of military cooperation with the RF in the fields of common interests and for the purposes of repulsing comon threats," the source pointed out.

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