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Russia proposes anti-piracy cooperation with NATO
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08:49, July 23, 2009

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Russia on Wednesday asked for a "detailed discussion" with NATO allies of how to better coordinate anti-piracy efforts off Somalia, said the alliance.

At Wednesday's NATO-Russia Council (NRC) meeting, Russian ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin proposed NATO-Russia coordinated patrols in the Gulf of Aden as well as liaisons between ships of NATO and Russia, said NATO spokesman James Appathurai.

Rogozin also mentioned possible joint exercises and training for anti-piracy purposes, although not necessarily in the Gulf of Aden.

Appathurai said NATO allies welcomed Russia's proposals and thought the fight against piracy is one of the areas where the alliance and Russia can have practical cooperation.

"There was certainly a shared desire to strengthen the NRC by focusing on practical cooperation, which will build a stronger foundation for discussions of areas on which the NRC countries might not agree," he said.

Rogozin said his country is very much concerned about the lack of an international legal framework for the trial of captured pirates. "Russia wants to create a specific international tribunal which could decide on these matters," he told reporters.

The establishment of such a tribunal is more important than shooting pirates off Somalia, he said.

Rogozin said the current practice with regard to captured pirates does not work and might encourage more Somalis to become pirates. Currently, NATO does not have a common legal framework, allowing individual countries to deal with this matter according to their own national laws. The European Union has reached agreement with Kenya under which captured pirates are prosecuted in the East African country.

At Wednesday's NRC meeting, deputy head of Russia's Security Council, Vladimir Nazarov, presented Russia's National Security Strategy until 2020. Nazarov insisted that NATO's eastward expansion and the U.S. plan to build a strategic missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic are threats to Russia's national security.

NATO suspended military-to-military cooperation with Russia after the Russia-Georgia military conflict a year ago. NATO foreign ministers and their Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, agreed to resume military-to-military cooperation last month.

Source: Xinhua

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