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8 May, 2009 12:58

Is there a NATO conspiracy against Obama?

The Russian envoy to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, says he suspects that there is a conspiracy against US President Barack Obama among NATO officials who don’t like his policy.

Speaking on Friday to the media via a video link from Brussels, he said:

“We believe it is possible that there might be some conspiracy against Obama inside the North Atlantic alliance. This is because the difference between Obama and the former U.S. President George W. Bush is too striking.”

“We like what the new leader in the White House is saying. But those who worked with the previous administration may not like it, they may take it as criticism,” he added.

Rogozin blamed NATO for several recent “provocative” moves aimed at Russia. One is attempting to exploit the tension between Russia and Georgia to make the rift worse, which the envoy called “unfair."

“We have ages-long ties with Georgia, and sooner or later we’ll work out our relations. NATO’s exploiting the difficulties in our relations is graceless and unfair. Let the alliance fight real challenges.”

Another regretful episode is the expulsion of Russian diplomats from NATO headquarters in Brussels, and the consequent tit-for-tat action against NATO employees in Moscow. According to Rogozin, it was a planned provocation against Russia.

“Someone wanted to provoke Russia into very harsh actions. Apparently, it was done to provoke a big scandal,” he said,

However NATO is not “lost as a partner” to Russia, Rogozin believes.

“There are active forces in the alliance, which don’t belong to the so-called ‘party of war,' but on the contrary, support the party of peace, the party of cooperation, the party of concord. It’s obvious that there is a threat in the world, acting against us all – against the West, against Georgia, and against Russia. It’s a common threat, and ignoring it means being a short-sighted politician,” the Russian envoy said.

As an example of cooperation, he mentioned Moscow’s suggestion on renewing the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty (CFE), which limits the strength of troops and the amount of hardware in Europe. Russia suspended its participation in it in 2007, after the new members of NATO refused to ratify it.

“I’m not allowed to tell you the nature of the plan, but trust me, it’s a really significant compromise, and a result of creative thinking on the part of Russian negotiators, which should make the West change its position on the issue,” Rogozin said.

The suggestions were sent to NATO members in late April, and they are to be discussed at a workgroup meeting in Vienna in mid-May.