Russia still regards NATO expansion with scepticism. As a Rosbalt correspondent reports, this was announced by Deputy Speaker of the State Duma Lyubov Sliska at today's meeting with NATO parliamentary assembly representatives in the State Duma. She said that 'Russia has a different vision of European security after the Cold War and NATO expansion is causing some concern.'
'On a number of occasions Russia has asked its NATO partners and the Baltic States for clear and unambiguous guarantees that there will be no arms programmes in the Baltic countries and that foreign arms will not be located in these countries,' Ms Sliska stressed. 'There is a corresponding agreement in Europe on the armed forces of each country. Until now, Russia has only been told that its Baltic neighbours intend to accede to this agreement but when and how this will happen is not yet clear.'
Ms Sliska added that 'one of Russia's main concerns is about the rights of the Russian minorities living in neighbouring countries, especially in Latvia and Estonia.' She said that 'there are still questions surrounding the rights of the Russian-speaking population in these countries and large numbers of people still have no nationality.'
However, she expressed the hope that Russia and NATO would continue to cooperate in the long-term, stressing that international law must be the foundation of these relations. 'Russia-NATO relations would not withstand another 'Kosovo' episode,' she warned.