NATO Secretary General: Russia Is Hard To Deal With

NATO /North Atlantic Treaty Organisation/ Secretary General George Robertson says, major differences with Russia lie in the attitude assumed towards the war in the Balkans and the NATO expansion. He voiced this viewpoint in his report in the Rotterdam University /the Netherlands/, the text of which was circulated by the NATO headquarters in Brussels. Russia-NATO discrepancies on the Kosovo conflict forced Russia to 'freeze' its relations with the Alliance. However, noted the Secretary General, this incident is already history. As to the NATO expansion, the sides cannot as yet strike an accommodation. In his opinion, Russia sees an infringement on its interests in what the West views as the right of every country to freely choose the form of their own security. George Robertson reckons that among all the NATO partners, Russia is most difficult to deal with. However, he still hopes that the sides will overcome differences on the NATO expansion. The Secretary General of the North Atlantic alliance expects Russia to recognize the benign character of the process at issue. He reiterated the famous NATO thesis that the first round of expansion had strengthened security in the Euro-Atlantic region. Robertson also reminded that the sides concerned were willing to practically cooperate in all directions: ranging from the Balkans to sea rescue operations. He left open the possibility of cooperation in non-strategic missile defence.

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