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Russia: Robertson To Brief NATO Member States

Moscow, 21 February 2001 (RFE/RL) -- NATO Secretary-General George Robertson meets ambassadors from alliance member states in Moscow today to brief them on yesterday's talks with top Russian officials. The talks focused on a planned U.S. missile defense system and Russia's alternative proposal. Yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Robertson and presented the NATO chief with a proposal to set up a joint mobile European missile defense shield.

Putin said Russia is ready to present details of its plans for what he called a "non-strategic European missile defense system" to NATO headquarters in Brussels.

Late yesterday, Robertson called Moscow's proposal "historic." He said it shows Russia shares concerns of Western nations about the possibility of a missile strike by so-called "rogue states" such as Iran or Iraq.

Russia says the U.S. plan violates the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and could trigger an arms race.

Putin also said he views NATO's further eastward expansion as one of the most disturbing problems facing Russia.