Source Pravda.Ru

New 20-state Format Opens Prospects For Russia-NATO Contacts

Appearing at a press-conference in Moscow Friday, NATO Secretary-General George Robertson has welcomed Vladimir Putin's assurances that Russia is not going to exploit the new format of relationships for entering the Alliance from "the back door" or for interfering in the Alliance's vital affairs. He also referred to Russia's unwillingness to abuse its right of veto. George Robertson treated the latter statement as very important. He reported that the sides in Friday negotiations made a point of a whole series of fields in which NATO and Russia see ample opportunities for work in the 20 format. These fields offer new avenues of cooperation and one should benefit by them, he said. When talking about the new level of relations between Russia and NATO, the Russian president even used such a notion as "revolutionary", according to Robertson. He finds it premature, however, to concentrate on the topic of forms and mechanisms of a new relationship. It is essential to determine areas of mutual interest in which we could work jointly to achieve common goals, said the secretary-general. In his opinion, one has first to discuss details and the substance and only then to construct new instruments of cooperation. He also pointed out that the fundamental Russia-NATO act of 1997 remains the basis of interaction between Moscow and the Alliance. Apart from this, NATO and Russia find it quite appropriate to work within the 20 format in areas causing mutual concern. It is the logics of mutual interests that underlies the Russia-NATO relationship, said Robertson. Speaking about benefits that Russia and the Alliance are to derive from the new form of cooperation, Robertson said that both sides stood to win. On the one hand, Russia will be in the know of NATO developments and intentions and on the other, NATO will face a more predictable and stable Russia.