Russia ready to work with US on Afghanistan

January 24, 2009, Saturday/ 19:43:00/ REUTERS
Russia welcomes US President Barack Obama’s decision to review policy in Afghanistan and is ready to cooperate, including on supply routes for NATO forces, Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday.

“Let us hope the new US administration will be more successful in the Afghan settlement than its predecessor,” Medvedev told a news conference after talks with Uzbek President Islam Karimov. “We are ready for fully fledged and equal cooperation on security in Afghanistan, including with the United States,” The Russian president added. “We are ready to work on the most complicated issues...including the transit of non-military goods.”

Cooperation on Afghanistan has been the most successful project uniting NATO and Russia, whose relations froze after Moscow’s brief war in Georgia last August. Before the war, Russia agreed to allow non-military NATO supplies to be delivered to Afghanistan across its territory thus bypassing Pakistan, where supply convoys face huge security risks. On Friday NATO and Russia are expected to hold their first session of their council since the South Ossetia war. Russian officials have made clear the fate of the Afghan transit depends on how relations between Moscow and the alliance develop.

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