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Turkmenistan: President Not Worried About NATO Expansion

Ashgabat, 14 March 1997 (RFE/RL) - NATO Secretary General Javier Solana held talks today in the Turkmen capital, Ashgabat, with President Saparmurad Niyazov and Foreign Minister Boris Shikhmuradov.

During a meeting with Solana, Niyazov said Turkmenistan is not worried about NATO expansion. However, a foreign ministry official said Russia, which is opposed to the expansion, will remain a strategic partner.

Solana toured Central Asia in a bid to convince the governments there that the expansion of NATO will not threaten their security. He also discussed with Central Asian leaders NATO's plan to set up a new partnership with ex-communist states -- the Atlantic Partnership Council -- which is expected to take over the Partnership for Peace program.