London, 19 November 1996 (RFE/RL) - British Defense Secretary Michael Portillo leaves for Moscow today for talks on European security including the future role of NATO.
British sources say Portillo is expected to give Britain's view that enlargement of NATO eastwards should go ahead. He is also expected to urge Russia to participate in building new European security arrangements.
On the eve of his visit, Portillo said things are uncertain in Russia and the fortunes of individuals and parties rise and fall. He said "NATO's job is not to hold its breath" but rather to provide what it can.
Portillo says he wants to encourage Moscow to engage in a deeper dialogue with NATO. He said the chance of securing lasting peace in Europe are better than ever before but "for this to be successful Russia absolutely has to be involved."