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NATO: Robertson Praises NATO-Russia Cooperation

Prague, 22 November 2002 (RFE/RL) -- NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson praised today what he said is the growing quality of cooperation between Russia and NATO. Robertson made the remark at a meeting in Prague of the NATO-Russia Council, which was formed in May as Russia-NATO relations warmed after the September 2001 terrorist attacks. Robertson said alliance relations with Russia have especially improved in the areas of crisis management, defense reforms, fighting terrorism, and agreement in assessing future threats.

Following the NATO-Russia Council meeting, NATO foreign ministers joined with foreign ministers of the 46-nation Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC), comprising nations who have entered into partnership agreements with NATO.

Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma has said he will attend the meeting despite warnings by NATO officials that he would not be welcome. Ukraine is a member of the EAPC.

Relations are strained between Kuchma and the West, particularly Washington, over allegations Kuchma approved the sale of a radar system to Iraq in violation of UN sanctions.

Yesterday, NATO formally offered membership to Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania.