Nato-Russia Council meeting to help unfreeze relations

BRUSSELS, May 19 (Itar-Tass) -- The next session of the NATO-Russia Joint Permanent Council will focus on interaction in peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and Kosovo, as well as the further unfreezing of relations between the Russian Federationand the North Atlantic Alliance, diplomatic sources told Itar- Tass here on Friday.

The foreign ministers of the NATO member countries and Russia will meet in Florence on May 24-26. The session will be co-chaired by Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, his Polish counterpart Bronislaw Geremek and NATO Secretary-General GeorgeRobertson, Klaus-Peter Klaiber, the aid to the NATO Secretary- General for political issues, told a briefing on Friday.

He informed that NATO had received an official confirmation that the Russian foreign minister would participate in the session.

NATO, Klaiber said, highly appraises cooperation with Russian peacekeepers in the Balkans. The North Atlantic Alliance notes Russia's steps aimed at unfreezing mutual relations.

The alliance is interested to further widen a dialogue with Russia and overcome Moscow's distrust to NATO.

During the session the ministers are expected to discuss the situation in the Balkans and important aspects of the NATO-Russia relations, including the opening of the NATO Information Bureau and the Military Communication Mission in Moscow.

The sources do not exclude that the parties will agree on the terms of the Information Bureau opening at the session.

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