Beginning of a Meeting with Russian Permanent Envoy to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Dmitry Rogozin 2009-02-12 22:21:22 The Kremlin, Moscow President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Dmitry Olegovich, a lot of water has passed under the bridge since we last met in August, since your report. Various events have since occurred. How would you assess the current relations between Russia and NATO? What changes are there? What prospects do you see? Russian Permanent Envoy To Nato Dmitry Rogozin: Dear Dmitry Anatolyevich, indeed NATO has recently made quite active efforts to rebuild relations with the Russian Federation. They are emitting what are, from their point of view, encouraging signals. Of course they do not want to apologise for what happened and what was said to us. On the other hand, the fact that they have taken the initiative to involve Russia in restoring full cooperation in an expanded format is in fact their unique way of making an apology. I think that they now understand that without Russia it is impossible to solve any problem in the Euro-Atlantic region or in the areas of their military operations. In Afghanistan NATO affairs are very complicated: in fact operations have gotten bogged down following successful Taliban strikes and today NATO members are extremely interested in having the Russian Federation assist the fighting contingent in Afghanistan under the mandate of the UN Security Council. Of course they want a great deal but they are nonetheless currently limiting themselves to thanking Russia for the opportunity to oversee the transit of civilian goods to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. In general NATO members now behave quite differently than before. We can say that the crisis benefited our relationship because now the scholastic, empty and simply propagandizing aspects of our relations have faded away. There is a lot of interest in a substantive political dialogue, expanding contacts, and possibilities for collaboration. They are very interested in your initiative to conclude a new legally binding treaty on European security. In a sense many of members of NATO delegations working at headquarters do consider this initiative as a new philosophy of international relations in a dramatically changed global environment since the last such meeting in 1975 in Helsinki. Of course NATO is afraid of losing its role in the world as a result of these initiatives but they cannot say anything against this initiative. Therefore they are very interested and today almost every meeting we have with NATO Secretary General and other permanent envoys turns around this initiative. Dmitry Medvedev: Good. This means that we must of course proceed in light of the fact that the Russian Federation is interested in full, equal and mutually beneficial relations with NATO, relations which are not directed against third parties, which really are mutually advantageous and effective, as opposed to simply existing on paper – empty – as you said. And we are ready for this. As to moving forward on various projects, we are ready to discuss the widest range of topics, especially as the number of global issues to which we must sometimes give joint responses is not declining. They, of course, include terrorist threats, various military conflicts that break out and that we must take into account when creating our own concept of security, combating organised crime and drug trafficking – these are all areas where we have cooperated and can do so in the future.