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NATO/Russia: More Perry-Rodionov Meetings Planned

Bergen, Norway; 27 September 1996 (RFE/RL) - U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry says he and Russia's new Defense Minister Igor Rodionov will meet at least twice more this year. Following a NATO Defense Ministers' meeting in Bergen, Norway; Perry today said NATO and Russia would work together, and that Moscow would see that the Alliance "is not a threat."

Rodionov attended yesterday's session of the NATO meeting, and held private talks with Perry.

A RFE/RL correspondent in Bergen reports each side appears to have made every effort to tone down potential or real disagreements, concentrating instead on areas in which they are, or can, cooperate effectively. Each side praised joint operation in Bosnia. And Rodionov was reported to have spoken at length about the need for a major and comprehensive reform of the Russian military.

Perry recently has spoken of creating a "circle of European security," through expanding "Partnership for Peace" programs. And Perry has also spoken of more and greater NATO-Russia cooperation.

Rodionov again criticized NATO enlargement, saying there is "no strategic necessity" for it, and again suggested "countermeasures" Moscow might take. He gave no specifics.

In addition to the planned Perry-Rodionov meetings, Perry is scheduled to testify before the State Duma next month on the Start-Two nuclear arms reduction treaty, which the U.S. Senate has already approved. And Russia's Security Council Secretary Alexander Lebed will visit NATO headquarters in Brussels next month.