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NATO, Russia discuss cooperation

Feb. 19, 2013 at 9:17 AM

BRUSSELS, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the alliance has made "significant progress" in its relationship with the Russian military.

Rasmussen met in Brussels with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss progress made since wide-ranging 2012 agreements on bilateral cooperation.

''Last year we made significant progress in our practical cooperation," Rasmussen said.

NATO in December joined Russian forces in a computer simulation dubbed Vigilant Skies 2012 that was aimed at coordinating airspace security over Eastern Europe. NATO said the simulation could pave the way to live drills over the Black Sea in 2013.

The drill was part of an initiative launched in 2002 that envisions greater transparency and confidence between both sides.

Rasmussen added that both sides discussed ways in which they could cooperate on issues related to missile defense.

Russia has expressed concerns over an Eastern Europe missile shield planned by the United States. Moscow says the shield would upset the regional balance of power, though Washington said protection is needed against rogue states such as Iran and North Korea.

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