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Russia: Primakov Says He Is Optimistic About NATO Accord

Strasbourg, 6 May 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov said today that he is optimistic that an agreement on the future relationship between NATO and Russia will be ready for signing by May 27. He said, however, that work on the document remained to be done.

Primakov spoke with journalists before arriving for talks in Luxembourg with the alliance's secretary-general Javier Solana. Primakov said earlier that he wanted the meeting to be the last in a round of talks on the Russia-NATO accord and that a draft agreement could be reached today.

Russian President Boris Yeltsin has set May 27 as a target day for signing the agreement at a summit in Paris.

Earlier today Primakov attended a session of the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers in Strasbourg, France.

Itar tass quoted him as calling for reforms of the organization. Primakov said work should be done in several key areas. Among these he cited an effective European court of human rights that could act as an efficient guarantor of justice on the continent.

Yesterday Primakov met with top European Union officials in Strasbourg and reiterated Moscow's stance that the planned NATO expansion will be the most serious error of the post-Cold War era. He added however that a Russia-NATO accord could minimize any impacts on Russian security from an enlarged NATO.