NATO fails over new Russian support for Afghan invasion

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Thursday has failed to gain any backing from Russia for Afghan invasion.

NATO fails over new Russian support for Afghan invasion

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Thursday has failed to gain any backing from Russia for Afghan invasion.

Rasmussen conceded he had not received any firm collabaration from Moscow in response to his requests for Russia to provide Kabul with helicopters and trainers.

Ties have been severely strained by last year's war between Russia and Georgia and by U.S.-backed plans to invite more former Soviet states to join the alliance.

Rasmussen is trying to get more support for Afghan invasion after U.S. President Barack Obama pledged 30,000 more troops.

Although some NATO members, such as the United States, have secured bilateral deals with Moscow, the alliance only has the right to send non-lethal supplies by land across Russia.

"I believe that Afghanistan must be a centrepiece of our partnership in 2010," he was expected to say in a speech later on Thursday.

Soviet forces invaded Afghanistan in 1979 to bolster communist allies, but got bogged down in a 10-year war with mujahideen insurgents in which some 15,000 Soviet troops and one million Afghans died -- an experience that has led Moscow to rule out sending its soldiers back there now.

No new security treaty

Rasmussen said on Thursday he saw no need for a new security treaty proposed by Russia, rejecting the Kremlin's call for new defence arrangements in Europe.

After talks with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and other Russian leaders, Rasmussen urged "greater cooperation" between NATO and Russia in Afghanistan, but showed no enthusiasm for Moscow's treaty proposal.

"I don't see a need for new treaties or new legally binding documents because we do have a framework already," he said at a news briefing in Moscow.

"We have already a lot of documents, so my point of departure is: 'I don't see a need for new treaties.' But let me reiterate, we are of course prepared to discuss the ideas in the right forum," said Rasmussen.

He said the 56-member state Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe was such a forum.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev published a draft post-cold war security pact on Nov. 29. He said it would replace NATO and other institutions and would restrict the ability of any country to use force unilaterally.

In Moscow on his first visit since taking office on Aug. 1, the NATO chief repeatedly said recent rows should not prevent Russia and the military alliance from confronting a "common security threat" from Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.



Agencies

Last Mod: 17 Aralık 2009, 15:42
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