NATO, Russia to take stock of ties at New York meeting

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NATO and Russia will take stock of their warming ties when foreign ministers meet in New York on Wednesday with missile defence, mutual threats and Afghanistan tipped to be on the agenda.

The meeting of the NATO-Russia Council on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly comes as the 28-nation Atlantic alliance waits for Russia to respond to an invitation to a summit in Lisbon on November 20.

"The foreign ministers could discuss the prospect of cooperation in anti-missile defence, the evaluation of common threats to their security and Afghanistan," NATO spokesman James Appathurai told AFP.

Russia's ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, said the Russian national security council would examine the summit invitation announced by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen last week.

NATO and Russia held their last meeting at the level of heads of state and government in April 2008 in Bucharest.

The Lisbon meeting would take place after NATO leaders hold their own summit in the Portuguese capital November 19-20.

Russia and Western nations remain divided over the disarmament of conventional weapons in Europe, the situation in Georgia following the August 2008 Russian-Georgian war and NATO's eastward enlargement.

But the two sides have identified common interests in the face of threats such as terrorism, nuclear proliferation and drug trafficking as they gingerly revive ties that had sunk to a new low following the war in Georgia.

On the Afghan front, Russia cooperates in the fight against drug trafficking and allows the transit of supplies, excluding weapons, for NATO troops through its territory. NATO wants Russia to provide helicopters to the Afghan government.

© 2010 AFP

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