Despite "fundamental disagreements" on some issues, also including Georgia, Russia and NATO will hopefully step up cooperation, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on September 22.
Speaking at a news conference in New York after meeting of foreign ministers of NATO-Russia Council, Rasmussen said: "We are on a solid path to improve NATO-Russia relations."
He said that during the meeting situation in Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as well as in Transnistria, breakaway region of Moldova, was raised in the context of conventional arms control in Europe.
"We discussed conventional arms control and in this respect also situation in Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Transnistria... There is no reason to hide that these issues are issues where we do not see eye to eye; but I do hope despite the fact that we have disagreements in that respect, we will move forward and see progress as regards to arms control," Rasmussen said.
Russia suspended its participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE) in 2007. NATO believes CFE should prevent Russia from stationing troops in breakaway regions of Georgia and Moldova.
U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, said in prepared comments at a NATO-Russia Council ministerial meeting, that it was important for both sides to restore and eventually modernize CFE Treaty, Reuters reported. She said she was encouraged that Russia had welcomed NATO's offer to begin discussing a framework for reviving the CFE.
Clinton noted the need that the CFE principle of host nation's consent for the stationing of forces on its territory should apply to Georgia and Moldova.
"We must have real military limitations and restraints where we need them," Reuters reported quoting Clinton. "And all participating states, including Georgia and Moldova, must have the right to agree to the stationing of foreign forces on their sovereign territory."
"Tangible progress on such issues as missile defense, conventional arms control, crisis prevention and response, improved transparency [on exchanging information about military doctrine, strategy and force developments], and security in Georgia would set the stage for closer cooperation in many other areas in future," Clinton said.
Speaking at a news conference Rasmussen said that although no final agreement was expected by November, when the alliance leaders will meet at a summit in Lisbon, where Russia has also been invited. Rasmussen, however, also expressed hope to have an agreement "on some basic principles on future conventional arms control" by November.
He said that the "fundamental message" of NATO-Russia foreign ministerial meeting in New York was "very clear and very encouraging" - cooperation with Russia "has become necessity if we want to be effective in preserving our common security."
"All parties realize that we need each other," Rasmussen said.