NATO’s Military Committee has been meeting at Brussels headquarters to develop the western alliance’s New Strategic Concept. This included discussion of NATO-Russia work plans.
Anti-terrorism was on the agenda, in the wake of the Moscow airport bombing, in which dozens were killed and many wounded. Moscow has also called for cyber-defence cooperation for the first time. It warned that computer viruses could knock out command systems, the same way Iran’s nuclear programme was attacked.
Russian Chief of General Staff General Nikolay Yegorovich Makarov said: “This terrorist attack in Moscow came with a great lost of life. It’s a terrible event, which must be investigated. Those behind it must be punished. We have discussed the prospects of Russia-NATO cooperation in this field.”
The Georgian crisis in 2008 suspended relations but in Brussels, the US said there were, increasingly, areas of mutual interest.
Admiral Michael Mullen, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said: “In that area in particular — terrorism and counter-terrorism — there is, I think, plenty of room for all of us to work together. In my relationship with General Makarov, and in the US relationship with Russia, we have actually spent a fair amount of time looking at how we work together from a counter-terrorism standpoint, and certainly I think there is opportunity for NATO to do the same thing.”
New strategy has already seen Russia offering help in Afghanistan. In November, Moscow and NATO struck a deal to boost the flow of Western military supply shipments through Russia.