Vilnius, 7 March 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov today stressed Russia's opposition to what he called the "mechanical enlargement" of NATO. Speaking in Vilnius after meeting with Lithuania's Foreign Minister Antanas Valionis, Ivanov said Lithuania is a "sovereign country," free to make its own foreign policy decisions. But he said Russia does not think enlarging NATO meets current European security and stability standards.
Instead, Ivanov called for an undefined "new mechanism" to allow all countries to participate equally in the international fight against terror, drugs, and crime.
"We need a new mechanism whereby Russia and NATO countries would, on equal terms, discuss problems together, work out solutions together and implement them together."
Ivanov expressed satisfaction with Russia-Lithuanian relations. He is expected to also meet with President Valdas Adamkus and Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas.