NATO, Russia to hold joint drills, exchange experience in tackling emergency situations

The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry and NATO will develop cooperation in emergency situation prevention and liquidation, the Emergency Situations Ministry's spokesperson Irina Rossius said on Friday.

Rossius said that Russian Emergency Situations Minister Vladimir Puchkov and NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow had a meeting in Brussels on Friday on the results of which Protocol was signed.

"It can be said that this is a historical event because the latest official document on cooperation development was signed between the Emergency Situations Ministry and NATO 17 years ago, on March 20, 1996. The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry and NATO expressed intention to continue mutually beneficial cooperation in this sphere," Rossius said.

Rossius said that the two sides discussed issues of "smart" response to large-scale natural disasters as well as essential directions in emergency situation prevention and liquidation during the bilateral meeting.

"Minister Vladimir Puchkov said that the main cooperation directions were holding joint training in the framework of Russia-NATO Council, Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and other formats," Rossius said.

The sides said they were interested in exchanging experience in using drones in emergency situation prevention and liquidation.

"Advancing initiatives to form a global network of anti-crisis centers, including immediate information cooperation between the Emergency Situations Ministry and NATO Disaster Response Coordination Center is among other not less important directions of cooperation," Rossius said.

"The Emergency Situations Minister emphasized that the Emergency Situations Ministry was of open humanitarian nature for international observers and international experts. He invited NATO Disaster Response Coordination Center employees to drills to be held in northwestern Russia in 2013 and in 2014," Rossius said.

Vershbow said that the agencies could not have zero results because their whole interest was humanitarian aid and helping people since human life and health was most important.

The Russian delegation visited the NATO Disaster Response Coordination Center on Friday.

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