Russian Foreign Minister: Nato Expansion Will Not Increase European Security

At the NATO-Russian Joint Permanent Council meeting the question of expanding the alliance towards the East was not discussed, Igor Ivanov, the Head of the Russian Foreign Ministry, said. According to him, the question of NATO membership is the sovereign right of every government and Russia in this case has no right of veto. In addition, Ivanov expressed his opinion that with regard to the new circumstances and the changes in the international situation the expansion of NATO Eastwards is pointless. By that the minister explained a "simple and mechanical NATO expansion will not increase security in Europe". According to him, the current situation "demands a new distinctive approach, which will not infringe on the rights of other states". The foreign ministry chief stated that at the meeting a decision was made to establish a working group of experts, who should work out concrete suggestions for a new type of NATO-Russian cooperation. The heads of foreign policy departments will then discuss these suggestions.

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