Moscow hopes to secure NATO's consent at Prague summit

At the Prague summit Moscow hopes to secure NATO's guarantees that the alliance's enlargement will not run counter to Russia's national security interests, sources in the Russian Foreign Ministry report. They did hot rule out that the summit closing statement would touch upon the relations between NATO and Russia.

Speaking on the five months which passed since the setting up of the Russia-NATO Council in Rome, the sources noted that on the whole its work could be considered "positive." "As far as we know, our partners share this view," they said.

"The Council was supposed to function in the format of twenty and it is doing so now," the sources pointed out. According to them, that is what distinguishes it from the former Russia-NATO Permanent Joint Council in the 19+1 format. "Sometimes the twenty members get into heated arguments, including 19 versus 1. But this one opponent rarely happens to be Russia," they noted.

The 2002 Council agenda is being carried out.

According to the sources, in the course of the Prague Council meeting the 2003 cooperation agenda is expected to be adopted at the level of Foreign Ministers.

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