Russia is facilitating transit of cargo for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan in line with a UN Security Council resolution, Russia's acting envoy to NATO Nikolai Korchunov told Interfax in Brussels.
"In principle, there is nothing new or sensational in the fact that Russia is providing transit support to the International Security Assistance Force. In addition to NATO countries, the ISAF includes 22 more states," he said.
"This assistance has been provided for several years in line with UN Security Council resolution 1386, which urges the member-states 'to provide to the International Security Assistance Force such necessary assistance as may be requested, including the provision of overflight clearances and transit.'"
"I want to stress that the matter does not involve any agreement with NATO on this account. This is our internal decision," Korchunov said.
"Cargo will be transported through Russian territory under control of Russian customs authorities, including for preventing the use of this scheme for drug trafficking," he said.
Russia plans to employ only civilian facilities at the Ulyanovsk airport and the railway lines certified for international cargo transportation, Korchunov said. "There will be no explosive or dangerous cargo in the containers. An agreement that there will be no NATO personnel in Ulyanovsk has been reaffirmed," he said.
Asked about Russia's attitude toward NATO's schedule of the ISAF's withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014, Korchunov replied that what Russia is concerned most of all about is that "by the moment of the international forces' withdrawal from Afghanistan, they should fulfill their mandate and the country's government should have its own resources to enforce law and order and resolve security problems inside the country."
"We would like the terrorism and drug threats emanating from Afghanistan to be dispelled and the country to become peaceful and neutral. On our part, we intend to provide strong support in this to the Afghan government and people," he said.
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