NATO and Russia have agreed to deepen the co-operation between them in future years and approved their work plan for 2012. The decisions were taken by the 29 Chiefs of Defence Staff of NATO countries and Russia meeting in the format of the NATO-Russia Council in Brussels yesterday.

NATO and Russia currently focus on six agreed areas of cooperation: Logistics, Combating Terrorism, Search and Rescue at Sea, Counter Piracy, Military Academic Exchanges and Theatre Missile Defence/ Missile Defence.

After the meeting, the Chief of the Russian Defence Staff, General Nikolay E Makarov handed medals to a number of NATO senior officers. Speaking at the ceremony Makarov said that "our cooperation with NATO is expanding, in particular, in the spheres of fighting against sea piracy and terrorism." Makarov praised the NATO officers for making the Russia-NATO co-operation real.

The NATO-Russia Council was established at the NATO-Russia Summit in Rome on 28 May 2002. In accordance with the Rome declaration, NATO member states and Russia work as equal partners in areas of common interest in the framework of the NRC, which provides a mechanism for consultation consensus-building, cooperation, joint decision and joint action on a wide spectrum of security issues in the Euro-Atlantic region. The members of the NRC, acting in their national capacities and in a manner consistent with their respective collective commitments and obligations, take joint decisions and bear equal responsibility, individually and jointly for their implementation.

Since the NRC's establishment, it has evolved into a productive mechanism for consultation, consensus-building, cooperation, joint decision and joint action. As an example, more than 25 working groups and committees have been created to develop cooperation on terrorism, proliferation, peacekeeping, theatre missile defence, airspace management, civil emergencies, defence reform, logistics, scientific cooperation for peace and security.

source: with Itar-Tass and

picture: General Nikolai Makarov, Chief og the Russian General Staff presenting a medal to Lieutenant General Jürgen Bornemann, NATO Director General of the International Military Staff following a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council at NATO Headquarters in brussels on 18 January 2012 (picture courtesy of NATO)

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