Putin voices need to get prepared for Russia-NATO joint exercise

Vladimir Putin has voiced the need to get prepared for a next stage of Russia-NATO joint work - a joint military exercise next spring. The Russian president said this at meeting in the Kremlin with NATO Secretary General George Robertson, who is leaving the post.

"We still have many unsettled problems. The main thing is that the quality of relations between Russia and NATO has changed. We are more and more feeling ourselves as partners and in need of each other," Putin said.

Relations between Russia and the North Atlantic Alliance have radically changed when George Robertson became its Secretary General. Putin also said that relations between Russia and NATO are conducive to the changing of relations between Russia and the world community, in line with the national interests.

In turn, Robertson said that very much has been done in Russia-NATO relations in recent years. The Russia-NATO Council is no longer a talking shop but a forum for actions, he said.

The fact that on Tuesday NATO accepted the proposal on Afghanistan, initiated by Russian Defence Minister Sergey Ivanov, is the best example that Russia and NATO are getting closer to each other in order to meet jointly the present-day challenges, Robertson noted.

Robertson voiced the hope that his successor will develop the success reached in Russia-NATO relations.

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