NATO and Russia agree to work together in Afghanistan, Somalia
James Appathurai   /  Photo:

NATO and Russia agree to work together in Afghanistan, Somalia

23 Jul, 10:32 PM

Diplomats from NATO and Russia met on Wednesday to discuss ways of cooperating in the battle against pirates off Somalia and supplying alliance forces to fight in Afghanistan, AP said.

Russian ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said Russia wanted to set up an international criminal court to try captured Somali pirates, rather than prosecuting them in local courts in countries such as Kenya.

He said he had also proposed setting up coordinated patrols by Russian and NATO warships in the Gulf of Aden.

Pirate attacks worldwide more than doubled in the first half of 2009 amid a surge of raids on vessels in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia, an international maritime watchdog said last week.

Wednesday's one-day meeting in Brussels was the latest sign of improving relations between the West and Russia.

Ties between NATO and the Russian military were frozen after the five-day Georgian war last August. But last month, foreign ministers from NATO's 28 nations and Russia agreed to normalize ties and resume military cooperation.

On Wednesday, the NATO-Russia Council — a panel set up in 2002 to improve ties between the former Cold War rivals — also discussed combatting drug smuggling from Afghanistan into Central Asia, NATO spokesman James Appathurai said.

"There was a shared desire to strengthen the NATO-Russia Council by focusing on practical issues," Appathurai said.

The issue of overland transit for NATO's military supplies to Afghanistan through Russia and the Central Asian states also was discussed, he said. NATO recently reached agreements with Russia and Uzbekistan for the transport by rail of equipment and supplies, but has yet to do the same with Kazakhstan before regular deliveries can begin.

Tags: NATO

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