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NATO Chief Urges Calm In Russia-NATO Relations


http://gdb.rferl.org/CBDBCDDA-2C6D-4CDC-AC41-F77AF6834FF3_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/CBDBCDDA-2C6D-4CDC-AC41-F77AF6834FF3_mw800_mh600.jpg De Hoop Scheffer (left) and Putin met on the sidelines of the NATO-Russia Council session (epa) June 26, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- NATO and Russia don't see eye-to-eye on a lot of issues, but one thing they can agree on is that communication is the key to overcoming their differences.


That was the general message both sides sent during a NATO-Russia Council session in Moscow that also featured talks between the NATO secretary-general and the Russian president.

'Lower The Volume'


Following those talks, NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer called for constraint on issues on which the two sides disagree.

"I strongly believe that there is no alternative to a good and healthy Russia-NATO relationship because NATO cannot do without its important partner Russia, and I think I can say that Russia cannot do without NATO." -- de Hoop Scheffer

"It is advisable to lower the volume a bit of the public comments made by one or the other. Because as it is with your iPod, if you put the volume too high in the long run it will damage your ears," RFE/RL's Russian Service quoted de Hoop Scheffer as saying.

Russia and the alliance disagree on a range of issues, including U.S. plans to place an antimissile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty imposing limits on military deployment, and the future status of Serbia's Kosovo Province.

De Hoop Scheffer said Putin's threats to re-target Russian missiles at sites in Europe if Washington goes ahead with its shield "do not have a place" in diplomatic relations.

He said there was "no alternative" to sound relations between NATO and Russia.

"I strongly believe that there is no alternative to a good and healthy Russia-NATO relationship because NATO cannot do without its important partner Russia, and I think I can say that Russia cannot do without NATO," de Hoop Scheffer said.

The NATO chief also called on Moscow not to abandon its commitment to the CFE treaty in retaliation to the U.S. missile shield, saying this would be "a very negative development."

Swift Vote On Kosovo


On Kosovo, de Hoop Scheffer said he called on Putin to swiftly allow a vote on an United Nations Security Council resolution granting Kosovo internationally supervised independence. Russia, which holds a veto in the Council, strongly opposes the proposal.

Putin, for his part, struck a conciliatory tone during his meeting with the NATO secretary-general:

"We have moved from a period of confrontation to cooperation," Putin said. "Naturally, this is big, multifaceted work, and it cannot happen without problems. But we hope that an ongoing dialogue between Russia and NATO will help resolve all problems in the interest of international security, for the sake of strengthening peace in the whole world."

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