Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Friday, August 29, 2008

"NATO's transit agreement with Russia at risk," AFP, August 25, 2008.

LONDON - NATO should not be able to use Russian routes to transit supplies and equipment to Afghanistan because Russia has suspended military co-operation with the Western alliance, the country's ambassador to Kabul argued in an interview published Tuesday.

Speaking to The Times from the Afghan capital, Zamir Kabulov said increased tensions between Russia and West over the former's recent assault on Georgia could lead Moscow to review other such agreements.

Asked by the newspaper if Russia's suspension of military co-operation with NATO invalidated an April agreement on the transit of supplies to Afghanistan, Kabulov said: "Of course. Why not? If there is a suspension of military cooperation, this is military cooperation."

"No one with common sense can expect to co-operate with Russia in one part of the world while acting against it in another," he added.

He insisted, however, that Russia was not seeking to derail NATO efforts in Afghanistan, telling The Times: "It's not in Russia's interests for NATO to be defeated and leave behind all these problems."

"We'd prefer NATO to complete its job and then leave this unnatural geography.

"But at the same time, we'll be the last ones to moan about NATOs departure."

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