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Russia: Primakov Rejects Participating In NATO's Political Structures

Moscow, 5 November 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov has rejected recent comments by Security Council Secretary Ivan Rybkin that Moscow could participate in NATO's political structures.

Primakov's comments come after he arrived in the Russian city of Petrozovodsk for a meeting of foreign ministers of the Council of Barents Sea states. He told reporters Russia is still opposed to NATO's plans to expand eastward.

"There is no one at the present time who wants" Russia to participate in NATO's political structures, said Primakov. He said Rybkin had made it what he called his "hobby" to talk about Russia's relations with NATO. He insisted that foreign policy is formulated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which he said still viewed NATO expansion negatively.

The Barents Sea Council meeting is expected to discuss the group's activities during the last year. The Council includes Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Russia.

Primakov is also due to meet with his Estonian counterpart, Siim Kallas, on the sidelines of the meeting. Kallas is participating in the meeting as an observer.