Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (right) being greeted today in Oslo by Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg (epa)
April 27, 2007 -- NATO foreign ministers today held talks for a second day in Oslo on a series of issues amid heightened tensions between the alliance and Russia.
NATO spokesman James Appathurai said the ministers voiced support for a UN proposal offering Kosovo supervised independence and warned against delaying a decision on the issue. He said that NATO allies will continue to discuss the issue with Russia, which opposes independence for the Serbian province.
Appathurai also renewed NATO's demand that Russia clarify its intentions to suspend participation in a key arms-control treaty. Russian President Vladimir Putin on April 26 announced Russia would freeze its compliance with the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, saying NATO members have not ratified the pact and are not abiding by its provisions.
The NATO ministers were also expected to address U.S. plans to base a missile-defense shield in Europe, another source of tension between the West and Moscow.
Putin met in Moscow today with Czech President Vaclav Klaus. After the talks, Putin told journalists that the proposed missile defense would heighten the risk of mutual destruction.
The United States is proposing placing elements of the missile-defense system in the Czech Republic and Poland. Klaus is in Moscow to try to allay Russia's concerns about the proposed system.
(AP, AFP, dpa, ITAR-TASS)