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Ambassadors' meeting of NATO-Russia Council may take place before May 27- Rogozin

BRUSSELS. May 15 (Interfax) - An ambassadorial meeting of the NATO-Russia Council may be held before May 27, but a ministerial meeting (involving the foreign ministers) of the Council member countries is not likely take place before September 2009, Russian envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said.

"We intend to hold the NATO-Russia Council meeting at the level of ambassadors no later than May 27 and we are now actively preparing for this event, consultations are being conducted on the issues that will be addressed at the meeting, and new proposals on the intensification of the work of the NATO-Russia Council are being discussed," Rogozin told Interfax on Friday.

The NATO-Russia Council is currently discussing proposals that can help improve dialogue in the Council, Rogozin said.

As for the ministerial meeting, Rogozin reiterated that "we have to postpone it from May to a much later date - I believe it can be held only at the beginning of fall - and that it through no fault of ours, it is through the fault of the NATO administration."

The next level of the NATO-Russia Council at the level of ambassadors will likely address issues relating to the anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan and the fight against international terrorism in general, Rogozin said.

"As for the issue which is more and more addressed by the media and is connected to the consolidation of efforts to fight piracy against civil vessels in the Aden Strait, I should say that this issue should be resolved within the framework of military cooperation between Russia and NATO," the diplomat said. In the meantime, this military cooperation cannot be resumed until political cooperation between Russia and NATO fully resumes, he said.

Rogozin reiterated that political cooperation between Russia and NATO can fully resume only after appropriate agreements are reached at =the ministerial meeting of the NATO-Russia Council involving the Russian foreign minister.

Russia-NATO cooperation was interrupted not through the fault of Russia, but as a result of decisions and actions taken by the NATO administration, Rogozin said.

These actions are sometimes "extremely unpredictable," he said.

"It is unclear what the NATO administration could do tomorrow because the NATO-Russia Council meeting at the level of ambassadors was held simultaneously - on the same day - and he decision on the deportation of so-called Russian spies from Brussels was announced immediately," Rogozin said.

"They stretch one hand to us for a handshake while trying to hit us with the other hand," he said.

Russia would like to see more predictability ad responsibility from NATO, especially in issues that are vital to both sides and are related to their strategic cooperation, Rogozin said.