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Afghan-bound armored vehicles to be allowed through Russia

By the CNN Wire Staff
Russia will now allow Afghan-bound NATO armored vehicles passage. The main route used until now was through Pakistan.
Russia will now allow Afghan-bound NATO armored vehicles passage. The main route used until now was through Pakistan.
  • The Afghan and Russian foreign ministers are meeting in Moscow
  • The agreement extends to 'armored vehicles with anti-mine protection'
  • Pakistan closed the route into Afghanistan last month due to U.S. helicopter strikes
  • NATO
  • Russia
  • Afghanistan War

(CNN) -- Russia's top diplomat said Thursday the nation will permit NATO to move armored vehicles through Russia to Afghanistan, state-run Russian media said.

"The eased transit regulations have been extended to armored vehicles with anti-mine protection," Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after discussions in Moscow, Russia, with Afghan foreign minister Zalmay Rasul, according to state-run RIA Novosti.

At the NATO summit in Lisbon, Portugal, last week, Russia and the alliance agreed to "broadened transit arrangements through Russian territory" of "non-lethal" material. The cargo would be moved through Russia to and from Afghanistan.

"We underlined the importance of international efforts in support of the Afghan government and in promoting regional peace and stability. In that context, the revised arrangements aimed at further facilitating railway transit of non-lethal ISAF goods through Russian territory are of particular value," the NATO-Russia Council Joint Statement said Saturday.

The agreement will help NATO's International Security Force break its dependency on Pakistani authorities to allow supplies and vehicles to get through.

Pakistan last month temporarily closed the main land route for NATO supplies crossing from Pakistan to Afghanistan after U.S. helicopter strikes across the border killed two Pakistani soldiers.

Dmitry Rogozin, the Russian permanent representative to NATO, said the matter refers to vehicles for transporting civilians only, Interfax news agency reported, citing remarks he made on Echo Moskvy radio.

"This has been made so that they could freely move even if militants using improvised explosive devices step up their activities," Rogozin said. "We have not given and will not give our consent to transportation of military cargo by rail through Russian territory."