The NATO-Russia Council may become one of the most important frameworks for interaction in the Euro-Atlantic security sphere, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated.

“Russia does not look upon the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation a priori as a source of threat,” the minister stressed in an interview to the Itogi magazine. “NATO for us is one of the objective key factors determining the state of security in the Euro-Atlantic region, including near our borders,” he noted.

“Although everything could have been otherwise if our partners in the early 1990s has made a choice in favour of not NATO centring, but in favour of the strengthening of OSCE as a full-fledged regional organisation,” Lavrov is certain. “We are for the confidence strengthening in mutual relations with NATO and against the creation of new division lines in Europe,” he said. “We would like to believe that the North Atlantic Alliance is not interested in returning to the spirit and logic of the ‘games with zero result’ and in the appearance on the European continent of zones with different level of security,” the RF foreign minister noted.

“We are certain that given the partners’ political will the NATO-Russia Council can turn into one of the most important frameworks of interaction in the Euro-Atlantic security sphere and become a prospective element of the so much needed in the contemporary world system of consensus policy,” Lavrov said.

The minister said earlier that Russia call for working pragmatically within the NATO-Russia Council. Russia’s position is that “we seek to develop mutually advantageous cooperation with NATO and work pragmatically within the Russia-NATO Council in compliance with the principles, which had been laid down earlier,” Lavrov noted. “First of all, we seek to strengthen our security not for account of others,” the Russian foreign minister explained.

The NATO-Russia Council, created on 28 May 2002, during summit in Rome, has been an official diplomatic tool for handling security issues and joint projects between NATO and Russia, involving “consensus-building, consultations, joint decisions and joint actions.”