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NATO expansion process exhausted — Russian envoy

April 03, 2014, 10:31 UTC+3 BRUSSELS

The alliance's expansion proved to weaken security, not to remove dividing lines, but to move them to the east and stir up psychology of front-line states, says Russian envoy NATO Alexander Grushko

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© ITAR-TASS/Mitya Aleshkovsky

BRUSSELS, April 03. /ITAR-TASS/. The NATO expansion process has exhausted, Russian envoy to the alliance Alexander Grushko told reporters in Brussels on Wednesday.

"The process of NATO expansion has exhausted itself long ago. It proved to weaken security, not to remove dividing lines, but to move them to the east and stir up psychology of front-line states. We see that the countries that join NATO more than others begin to demand additional guarantees and additional protection measures," the Russian diplomat noted.

"In the 21st century, to link own security with presence of foreign forces on the territory and to seek deployment of American and other foreign bases is movement not in the direction of modern architecture, which the world needs, but movement in the direction of the epoch of confrontation, in favor of the security ensuring schemes that must be left in the past," he said

"The situation is absolutely clear in the case with Georgia and Ukraine, the dividing lines are drawn already inside the states," Grushko noted.

Viewpoints of NATO member states on return to confrontation differed, he said. "There are various viewpoints in NATO on whether the alliance should return to the cold war times and consolidate on the platform of Article Five of the Washington Treaty. I am sure, many in NATO realize very well that nobody intends to attack NATO."

There are extreme views expressed by the Baltic countries and Poland. More than others, they talk about shortage of security and the need for additional measures to protect them. But there are other countries that understand that return to the times of confrontation is absolutely counterproductive and will draw material resources from more essential needs, the diplomat notes.


Maintaining political contacts

NATO was interested to maintain political contacts, despite the alliance's suspension of practical cooperation, but there was no reason for the Russia-NATO Council to meet in the near future, Grushko said.

"There was much of everything in history of relations between Russia and NATO," he noted. "If decisions are taken, they will be based on a well-considered analysis, not on emotions. I believe, in any case there is interest to preserve the channels of communication between such major military and political factors in the Euro-Atlantic space as Russia and NATO. It would be absolutely unreasonable to go down to the level of relations of the cold war times," Grushko told Russian reporters, commenting on NATO's decisions. .

The view is shared by many partners in the Russia-NATO Council. However, the council is unlikely to meet in the near future. There is no subject to convene a meeting to discuss, taking into consideration the NATO-announced decisions, he said.


Adjusting to new conditions

The diplomat believes cooperation may be adjusted to the new conditions. It is a council for a political dialogue and implementation of projects for practical cooperation. So, if there was no cooperation, decisions would be needed to adjust mechanisms of cooperation, Grushko said.

The diplomat noted the alliance would itself lose due to the halt of cooperation in areas of common interests. "If the side does not want to participate in cooperation, there will be no such cooperation. It is of principle for us that we will continue to have the responsibility we voluntarily have taken in the cause of neutralization of new threats and challenges. If NATO is not ready to work with us and evades its responsibility, we will work with the partners on the international arena who share the objectives," the Russian envoy said.

NATO's freezing of practical projects for cooperation with Russia is counterproductive, he stressed.

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.


Ensuring security in Afghanistan

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 hide 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% 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 UN 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.

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