Prague, 12 March 1997 (RFE/RL) - NATO Secretary General Javier Solana met Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev in Bishkek today.
Our correspondent reports that Akayev told Solana that NATO's eastwards expansion is primarily a European problem. But he said that Russia is a strategic partner of Kyrgyzstan and for that reason Russia's objections to enlargement must be taken into account.
Moscow has consistently opposed expansion into eastern and central Europe saying that it poses a direct security threat to Russia. Moscow is seeking a binding contract with NATO before the first wave of new members is admitted by 1999.
Akayev said a compromise solution between Moscow and Brussels must be found.
Speaking at a press conference in Bishkek earlier Solana, who is on a five-day tour of the region, said NATO sought active cooperation with Central Asian countries through the alliances' partnership for peace program.