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Russia: NATO Secretary-General Heads To Moscow

Moscow, 21 November 2001 (RFE/RL) -- NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson is due today to begin a three-day visit to Russia aimed at improving Moscow's relations with the alliance. Robertson is scheduled to meet Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, and Security Council Secretary Vladimir Rushailo.

Yesterday, Foreign Minister Ivanov said Russian officials will discuss what he called ways of "upgrading" Moscow's partnership with NATO.

"This cooperation should not be based on the 19+1 [NATO member countries and Russia] formula," he said. He added that Russia would like to have a "mechanism for solving all problems on the basis of equality and finding common answers."

He said a new partnership will "make it possible to pool efforts in the fight against challenges."

The U.S.-led campaign in Afghanistan and the fight against terrorism also will be on the agenda for Robertson's visit.

Robertson also will meet regional authorities in the central Russian city of Volgograd.

Separately, Jordan's King Abdullah is in Moscow today for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin expected to focus on attempts to restart the Mideast peace process.

Ahead of the visit, Abdullah told ITAR-TASS that Jordan is counting on Russia to "put an end to the violence" between Israel and the Palestinians. Russia and the United States are co-sponsors of the peace process.

Russian Foreign Minister Ivanov said yesterday that Moscow will continue to attempt to restart peace talks in coordination with the U.S., "the European Union, the United Nations, Egypt, Jordan, and other regional parties."

The king and Putin also are expected to discuss the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan, bilateral ties, and other international issues.

Jordan is sending troops to Afghanistan to take part in a humanitarian mission.