State Duma deputy: Russia-NATO relations will get new quality

The relations between Russia and NATO have not yet entered a qualitatively new level because a number of problems are preventing them from doing so, Vladimir Komoyedov, chairman of the State Duma committee on defense, said.

"The undoubted achievements are insufficient for a transition to a new quality of relations. There is a need to secure the vital security interests of Russia, primarily in the sphere of missile defense," Komoyedov, who is currently taking part in the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, told Interfax-AVN.

The parliamentarian said Russia and NATO "have had different stages of interaction."

"We have achieved a lot: we have gone from determining the common tasks in reaction to security challenges to mutually useful projects and mechanisms of practical cooperation. We have good results on some aspects of practical cooperation with NATO in the sphere of meeting common risks and threats such as terrorism, piracy, man-made accidents and natural calamities, and Afghanistan," he said.

At the same time, Komoyedov said "Russia is concerned about NATO's wish to assume functions uncharacteristic of 'the defensive North-Atlantic Alliance."

"We believe the practical implementation of the policies to transform NATO from a 'purely defensive union' to 'a modern security alliance' stated in Lisbon, which does not replace the leading role of the UN and the Security Council in issues relating to maintaining peace and security, is very important to all NATO partners. For example, will the alliance be ready for practical 'coordination with other' organizations and states or will try to 'coordinate' them?" the parliamentarian said.

Speaking about the issue of missile defense, Komoyedov said that "missile defense is a key issue on the global agenda." "There are sill serious differences in Russia's and NATO approaches to the creation of missile defense system in Europe," he said.

Komoyedov said Russia "needs firm guarantees that the missile defense systems of the U.S. and Europe will not undermine the Russian strategic potential."

"Such guarantees need to be supported by objective military-technical criteria, which allow every party to become convinced that the missile defense system created in the region really meets the declared purpose of its creation: defense from a limited number of missiles that may appear in countries outside of Europe," the parliamentarian said.

"We are against confrontation, but we are being forced to react to threats related to the placement of missile defense systems near the Russian borders. If the situation continues to develop in this way, we will take measures in response. There is still time to find solutions. The developments in the sphere of missile defense will considerably determine the prospects of relations at the regional level and the development of the situation in the world in general," he said.

A State Duma delegation led by Komoyedov is taking part in the work of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, which will continue until Sept. 28.

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