Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) and his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier attend a news conference in Moscow, February 14, 2014. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
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Russia and NATO are drawing up plans for a rare joint naval operation in the Mediterranean to protect the U.S. ship that will destroy Syria's deadliest chemical weapons, officials and other sources said.NATO and Russia are still trying to iron out some technical hitches, but NATO sources say a deal could be announced as early as next week.Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen discussed supporting international efforts to destroy Syria's chemical weapons at talks in Brussels on Jan. 28, both Russia and NATO have said.The NATO-Russia Council Foreign Ministers issued a joint statement in December supporting the U.N./OPCW mission.Other than that, Russia has also temporarily contributed forces to the NATO mission in Kosovo that started in 1999 .Some sources said that, should the NATO-Russia operation go ahead, its meaning would be largely symbolic, also because the Americans can protect the Cape Ray on their own.But for NATO such a mission could be a rare success story in strained ties with Russia.
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