From Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO: I do believe that all parties realize that we need each other. I think the future of Russia lies within cooperation with the European Union, with NATO. It makes sense from an economic point of view. It makes sense from a security point of view. Together we can move forward.
So I think it is, I would say, a collective will to reach the full potential of a strengthened cooperation between Russia and NATO countries. …
We have not yet started such detailed technical discussion on how to engage in cooperation on missile defence. But let me remind you that actually we had cooperation between NATO and Russia on so-called theatre missile defence until the spring 2008. We also conducted common exercises as regard theatre missile defence. And I think that’s an excellent point of departure for expanding this cooperation.
As you know, we are currently considering within NATO to expand theatre missile defence to be a territorial missile defence. That is, not only to protect deployed troops, but to protect the whole population. And if we do so I think it makes sense to invite Russia to cooperation, also when it comes to territorial missile defence.
And then of course there are a lot of technical details to be elaborated and we will do that in the next phase. …
We have not requested and not got a final answer from Russia as regards cooperation on missile defence, but I can tell you that we have already initiated discussions and consultations within the NATO-Russia Council. We have already had two meetings on this and we have scheduled yet another meeting next month. So consultations are ongoing.
So I hope to see further progress, and if NATO allies decided to start the development of a NATO-based territorial missile defence system I think such a decision should be accompanied by an invitation to Russia to cooperation.
Excerpts from press conferfence by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen following the informal meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the NATO-Russia Council. (photo: NATO)