Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Russian envoy rules out troops for Afghanistan

BRUSSELS, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) -- Russian envoy to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, on Tuesday ruled out troops for Afghanistan, saying it would be a silly thing to send in Russian troops again after occupation of the country during the Cold War.
"We are not talking about such a long-term perspective as for Russian public opinion. We've been to Afghanistan and we didn't like it. So to go back is a silly thing," Rogozin told reporters.

He said Russia is not going to take part in projects, which might even indirectly involve Russia military action on ground in Afghanistan, he said.

Russian help to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) will only be civilian cargo through Russia soil to ISAF in Afghanistan. "That's the bottom line for Russia now."

Rogozin indicated caution of any Russian military involvement, citing a Russian proverb: if you put you finger in his mouth, he will cut your arm up to the elbow.

On transit routes to Afghanistan through Russia, Rogozin said his country is ready to immediately launch negotiations on arrangements. But the problem is that the NATO international secretariat needs to finalize agreements with other neighboring countries through which the transit routes also need to go along.

Rogozin also asked new U.S. President Barack Obama to rethink plans for a strategic missile defense shield in Eastern Europe, which Russia believes is detrimental to its own national security.

He said the missile defense system is costly and ineffective. "Securing oneself with those missile defense sites in Eastern Europe is as if you want to warm up in a cold Brussels night by burning suitcases full of 100-U.S. dollar bills." Its efficiency in providing Europe and the United States equals to zero, he added.

To test the system's efficiency, one needs a Hollywood film scenario of a massive nuclear attack, which is impossible in real life, he said.

Rogozin welcomed Obama's intention to withdraw troops from Iraq and fight the real threats: terrorism in the region around Afghanistan.

Rogozin said Russia is ready to restore relations with NATO, damaged by the military conflict in August 2008. He confirmed that NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer will meet Russia Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov on Feb. 6 on the sidelines of the Munich security policy conference, the highest level political contact between the two sides following the August 2008 Georgia conflict.

NATO suspended high-level political contacts with Russia, including regular meetings of ambassadors, following the August conflict. As a sign of thawing ties, Rogozin met ambassadors from NATO allies on Monday, the first of its kind in five months.

Rogozin said he was optimistic about future relations with NATO." It is easy to break a pot but difficult to put the pieces together. But we will do that," he said.

There was initiative on the NATO side and good will on the Russian side, he added.


How about Mosul, ever been there?


Post a Comment

<< Home