Russian president Vladimir Putin has expressed the hope that the visit of NATO Secretary-General George Robertson to Moscow "will benefit security all over the world". As the president of Russia said, the Russian leadership "positively estimates Russia's recent relations with NATO." Putin reaffirmed that "on the one hand, Russia does not stand in line for NATO membership, but, on the other hand, is prepared to develop relations as far as the North-Atlantic Alliance is ready to do so". The head of state thanked Robertson for his "personal position and activity in the cause of strengthening relations of Russia and NATO". Putin also pointed out to the fruitful contacts between the NATO Secretary-General and the Security Council of Russia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defence.
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