Russia may base intelligence official in Brussels

2nd October 2009, Comments 0 comments

Russia could soon have an intelligence expert based in Brussels to help improve "counter-terrorism" cooperation with NATO, officials said on Thursday.

"We are discussing the nomination of an FSB (Federal Security Service) representative, who will be based in Brussels to liaise with NATO on counter-terrorism," said a diplomat with Russia's delegation at the alliance.

"The practical details remain to be negotiated, particularly whether he will be registered with NATO or with Belgium," he said.

The NATO alliance has its headquarters in the Belgian capital.

A NATO official told AFP "there is no opposition, in principle, to the nomination of a member of the FSB", but that details "are currently being ironed out."

NATO froze high-level ties with Russia after Moscow's war with Georgia last year, and tensions between the two have only recently begun to thaw, aided by the United States dropping plans to extend its missile shield into Europe.

Despite many differences, including the independence of Kosovo, NATO and Russia have common interests in the fight against terrorism and the stability of Afghanistan, where alliance troops are battling an insurgency.

The NATO official said that contact between NATO and Russia was frequent. "Russian experts came here last week to discuss the exchange of information classified as confidential."


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