Brussels: Defence ministers from NATO and their Russian counterpart, Anatoli Serdyukov, agreed on a long-term vision for defence and military cooperation, said the alliance on Friday. According to NATO secretary general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, NATO and Russia are cooperating well on military matters, despite serious disagreements over key issues such as Georgia and the alliance's expansion.
In recent months, NATO and Russia 'have marked regular progress in certain domains,' especially short-range missile defence and the fight against terrorism in civil aviation, Scheffer said.
And despite 'disagreements' on international issues, the defence ministers of NATO member states and Russia, which jointly form the NATO-Russia Council (NRC), 'all recognize the NRC as a valuable forum for dialogue to resolve these complex political issues,' he said.
Scheffer said the two sides are also working on an air transport deal which would enable NATO to use Russian airspace to move goods to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.
Russia and NATO had concluded a land transport deal in April through which the alliance can transfer non-military goods to ISAF via Russian soil.
Scheffer noted that Russia has also agreed to step up cooperation in counter-narcotics training in Afghanistan and to continue to participate in the alliance's naval anti-terrorism operation in the Mediterranean.
The ministers also agreed to work toward interoperability between forces of Russia and NATO nations, said the NATO secretary general in a statement.
He admitted that there are lots of differences between NATO and Russia.
"Allies and Russia still have distance from each other on the well-known issues: NATO enlargement, the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, missile defense, Kosovo, Georgia. So there are not few issues on which we do not look eye to eye," said de Hoop Scheffer.
Russia's opposition in the UN Security Council to the deployment of a European Union (EU) ''law-and-order'' mission in the disputed territory of Kosovo has brought about real problems for NATO.
With the introduction of Kosovo's first constitution on 15 June, the UN mission in Kosovo is supposed to transfer power to the EU mission.
Russia demanded on Thursday the removal of UN's top official in Kosovo. It insists that the EU mission in Kosovo is illegal as it has not gained approval of the UN Security Council.