GOLDEN SANDS, Bulgaria, May 30 (Xinhua) — NATO needs a cooperation with Russia but will not share its defense systems, top Alliance officials said here on Monday.
NATO’s cooperation with Russia is not just an option, it is the only alternative, Karl A. Lamers, president of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, told its plenary session.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who also attended the session, confirmed that NATO needs a “true strategic partnership” with Russia with the aim “to improve the security environment all over the Euro-Atlantic area.”
At the same time, responding to a question about the future Euro missile shield, Rasmussen said NATO is responsible for the protection of its member states, and it “can’t outsource that defense to other actors.”
Rasmussen insisted that two independent systems should be built, and a “close cooperation with Russia” could be realized through establishing a joint center for exchange of data that could make both systems much more effective.
Speaking about Libya, Rasmussen said there is no military solution solely to the conflict in this North African country but a prerequisite for a positive political process is that “we keep a high military pressure on the Gaddafi regime.”
The international community must reinforce the political pressure on the regime and the support for the opposition, Rasmussen added.
On NATO presence in Afghanistan, he said it would be premature to leave this country at the moment because “the Afghan society is not yet prepared to take full responsibility for the security.”
According to Rasmussen, the transition process in Afghanistan will hopefully be completed by the end of 2014, and gradually NATO’s role will change from a combat role into a more supportive role.
“Here we have the light at the end of the tunnel but for this process to be a success we must stay committed as long as it takes to accomplish our mission,” Rasmussen said.
Later on, the NATO Secretary-General met with the Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov, the Parliament Speaker Tsetska Tsacheva and the Prime Minister Boyko Borrisov.