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23 Feb, 2010 21:55

“NATO no challenge to Russian security” – Clinton

Washington has strongly urged Moscow not to view NATO as a major threat to its security. The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the statement at an international seminar on NATO's mission for the 21st Century.

She said Russia and the Alliance should forge closer and more trustworthy relations.

“Let me state unambiguously, while Russia faces challenges to its security, NATO is not among them. We want a cooperative NATO-Russia relationship that produces concrete results and draws NATO and Russia closer together,” Clinton outlined.

“I think one of our tasks in the next years is to convince Russia that NATO enlargement is not a threat to Russia, not the 21st Century Russia, not Russia which has a lot of other pressing needs and concerns – some of them being threats coming from other sources, certainly not from NATO,” she said.

Earlier, Moscow expressed grave concern over NATO's new strategy on further expansion and its global geopolitical aims.

“Cold war stereotypes remain strong in Euro-Atlantic policies, NATO is continuing its expansion at the same time as it's developing a new strategy. One strategy option would see NATO have global reach and the possibility to use force worldwide. This doesn’t exactly comply with the UN charter, and of course we are worried,” stated Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on February 18.

Russia's newly-adopted military doctrine states the Alliance is the chief source of danger to the security of the country with its ever changing plans on its missile defense shield being installed close to the Russian border.

But in her address, Hillary Clinton called for more openness about the military capabilities of both sides.

“European security will benefit if NATO and Russia are more open about our armaments, our military facilities and our military exercises. NATO and Russia should have a regular exchange of information on posture, doctrine and planned military exercises, as well as specific measures to permit observation of military exercises and to allow visits to new or significantly improved military installations,” the US Secretary of State believes.

Meanwhile, Russian ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said current relations between Russia and NATO are “quite constructive” and might have a common platform for cooperation.

"If we understand that international terrorism, piracy and nuclear non proliferation are a third force that threatens the West and Russia, and if we convince each other that this is a platform for joint actions, then we can move towards closer cooperation," he said.

Later on Tuesday during a telephone conversation, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Hillary Clinton exchanged opinions about the work underway on the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

"The sides confirmed the need to concentrate the work of the delegations in Geneva on the strict observance of the fundamental understandings reached by the presidents of Russia and the United States and confirmed at the meeting of the Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Nikolai Makarov and Chairman of the US of Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen in Moscow in January," said a report of the Russian Foreign Ministry information and press department.

The report added that the sides also discussed a coming ministerial meeting of the quartet of mediators for the Middle East in Moscow.