Now it is NATO’s turn to press the “reset” button with Russia. A day after the US scrapped a missile shield plan, helping smooth relations with Moscow, the military alliance has offered an olive branch of its own – a new strategic partnership and joint work on missile defence.
“NATO-Russia cooperation is not a matter of choice. It is a matter of necessity,“ the organisation’s Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a speech in Brussels. “Both NATO and Russia have a wealth of experience in missile defence. We should now work to combine this experience to our mutual benefit.”
Early Russian reaction has been positive, its military experts envisaging possible cooperation of this type.
Moscow is in a good mood after President Obama ditched the defence system planned by his predecessor on Polish and Czech territory. Russia has indicated it now won’t proceed with plans to deploy missiles in its Kaliningrad enclave.
But while Prime Minister Vladimir Putin today hailed Washington’s move as “correct and brave”, he urged Obama to make further gestures.
Speaking in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. he said he expected the removal of all restrictions on the transfer of high technology to Russia as well as full US backing for a joint bid by Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan to join the World Trade Organisation.
As for what is expected of the Kremlin in this new era, a tougher line on Iran’s nuclear ambitions would be warmly welcomed by the West.
Nato's new offer to boost ties with Russia