Russia intends to expand its mission to NATO HQ in Brussels

Russia intends to expand its mission to the NATO headquarters in Brussels, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday launching the negotiations with NATO Secretary General George Robertson in the Kremlin.

The Russian President expressed hope that NATO's enlargement "would scale up confidence between Russia and the North Atlantic alliance instead of building up tensions." The Russian Head of Sate said that political dialogue was the major instrument in resolving disputes facing the international community. According to Putin, military criteria, namely, the use of armed forces for settling crises, have not yet been determined. That is why political dialogue must remain the major instrument in tackling such issues, President Putin said.

Vladimir Putin also spoke about the increasingly evolving relations within the Permanent Russia-NATO Council. He noted that the two sides had moved from talking to acting, adding that special groups, set up to lend practical significance to the co-operation, were functioning.

President noted that Russia closely followed the developments at the NATO summit in Prague. "You know where we stand speaking of NATO's enlargement. At the same time we paid attention to your statement on the development of NATO-Russia relations," Vladimir Putin said. According to him, Russia focuses on the practical side of accepting new members to the North Atlantic alliance.

Vladimir Putin pointed out that Russia and NATO were close in assessing new security threats.

George Robertson, on his part, said that the statements of the Prague summit were called upon to show that NATO and Russia were facing common threats and that those statements could enhance Russia's security.

George Robertson noted that there was no terrorist in the world who would be afraid of declarations, in such cases they could be intimidated with specific outcomes of the NATO-Russia joint work.

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