March 8 (Lenta.ru)
Should NATO’s boarders be close to our country?” Putin asks. On Tuesday, Acting Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that Russia is ready to enter NATO as a political organization. According to the RIA-Novosti news agency, Putin said that Russia is ready to cooperate with NATO in the field of politics.
But NATO is not only a political but also a military organization, the Acting President emphasized, and if NATO makes decisions similar to those that had been made concerning Yugoslavia, there is no point to speak about any cooperation.
Putin cited a statement of Secretary General of NATO Lord George Robertson who said that the issue of Russia’s entering NATO is “purely hypothetical.” “Nobody is going to accept Russia into NATO. You couldn’t expect anything else. We do not have and never had such plans,” Putin remarked.
At the same time he mentioned that NATO is continuing to expand its boarders to the East and this makes Russia anxious. “We are not upset with the fact that nobody is inviting us into NATO. But we have a question: why should NATO’s boarders be so close to our country?” the Acting Russian President asked.
Meanwhile US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright expressed support for the development of a cooperation between the US and Russia. On Tuesday during a press conference, answering the question about the possibility of Russia’s entering NATO, she stated that the Alliance’s doors “are always open.”
At the same time, in her opinion, the continuation of active operations in Chechnya raises difficulties for such a development. According to Albright, “The activities of Russian authorities in Chechnya arouse serious disapproval and anxiety in Washington.”
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