NATO welcomes US, Russia stand on arms control

April 2nd, 2009 - 12:02 am ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Brussels, April 1 (DPA) NATO Wednesday welcomed a joint declaration by US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on nuclear arms control and on further cooperation in Afghanistan.
“Obviously NATO-Russia relations are heavily influenced by bilateral relations between the United States and Russia,” said NATO spokesman James Appathurai in Brussels.

“And to the extent that relations between those two countries improve … that is something that can only be welcomed by NATO and that can benefit NATO,” the spokesman said.

Meeting in London ahead of a Group of 20 summit, Obama and Medvedev agreed to draw up a new deal on nuclear disarmament.

The two leaders also agreed to “work out new ways of cooperation” in Afghanistan, where NATO operates its biggest military operation abroad, and welcomed the resumption of activities of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) as “a positive step”.

NATO-Russia relations soured in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Georgia last August, leading the alliance to suspend meetings of the NRC, which offers the sides a forum for direct dialogue.

Allies recently agreed to resume such meetings, with NATO foreign ministers now expected to meet their Russian counterpart some time after this week’s NATO summit.

Relations with Russia are expected to feature prominently at Friday and Saturday’s meeting of NATO heads and state and government in Strasbourg, Baden Baden and Kehl.

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