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14 December 2005 -- A NATO official said that the alliance is not competing with Russia for influence in the former Soviet republics.
Robert Simmons the NATO's special representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, made the comment at a news conference in Moscow. He said NATO was not competing with Russian-led security groupings active in the Caucasus and Central Asia. But Simmons also said that NATO prefers to confine its partnership to individual members of the groups.
Moscow has urged NATO to establish official links with the six-nation Collective Security Treaty, a military pact that includes Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Russia and China also dominate another regional security alliance, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which includes four former Soviet Central Asian nations.
Simmons also said that there are good prospects for a breakthrough next year in a conflict pitting Armenia against Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, a mostly ethnic Armenian enclave within Azerbaijan.