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NATO Sees 'Positive Signals' In Russia Relations


NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

ANKARA (Reuters) -- NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who has made boosting ties with Russia a top priority, said there were already "positive signals" in relations between the alliance and Moscow.

"We have differences in a number of areas. Georgia is one of them, but they should not overshadow the fact that we have common security threats," Rasmussen told a small group of foreign media during a visit to NATO member Turkey.

NATO and Russia resumed formal cooperation on broad security threats in June, after ties were frozen as a result of Russia's military intervention last August in Georgia, a country that has been promised eventual NATO membership.

Rasmussen, who took over the helm of the alliance this month, said NATO and Russia must work together on areas like terrorism, the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and sea piracy.

NATO hopes closer ties with Russia will lead, among other things, to an agreement with Moscow to allow for the transit of weaponry to Afghanistan. NATO now relies on a route via Pakistan that has been under persistent attack.

However, some NATO allies have insisted that closer ties with Russia should not come at the expense of eventual NATO membership for former Soviet republics Georgia and Ukraine, the promise of which has greatly angered Moscow.
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