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NEWS: NATO To Sign Landmark Military Agreement With Russia

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posted on Apr, 26 2005 @ 06:20 AM
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Vilnius, LITHUANIA - In what NATO officials have described as a "milestone" in relations with Moscow, the alliance is to sign a "Status of Forces Agreement" with Moscow on Thursday which will pave the way for joint exercises and training, and will allow for greater freedom of movement of NATO troops through Russian territory. The NATO meeting where the signing will take place is to be held in Lithuania, one of three ex-Soviet republics which joined NATO last year. The meeting, held against a backdrop of some sensitive diplomatic issues, also involves discussion on NATO's future role in the Middle East.
 



www.spacewar.com
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet with his NATO counteparts including US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for talks in Vilnius, capital of one of three ex-Soviet republics which joined the alliance last year.

A spokesman said the accord, which will have to be ratified by the Russian Duma before entering into force, could for example be used to cover NATO troops heading for Afghanistan, where the alliance heads a peacekeeping force

The issue touches on sensitive diplomatic areas: France has already made it clear it would oppose any significant NATO role in the Middle East, saying the alliance has "no vocation" in the peace process.

The US secretary of state arrived in Vilnius direct from the Russian capital, where she criticized Russia's democratic record but called Moscow a "strategic partner."


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As much of a milestone as the signing of the agreement is, the meeting itself hasn't been all smiles and pats on the back. A shadow still hangs over NATO's solidarity, left over from differences of opinion between member states over the Iraq war. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also made some disparaging statements regarding Russia's democratic record, a subject which has increasingly been in the media spotlight since President Putin's apparent back-peddling on reforms in the former Communist state.

Another Russia-sensitive issue related to the meeting is the Ukraine's ambitions for NATO membership, a commission of which Secretary of State Rice will attend, as well as her comment that it was "time for change" in the former Soviet republic, Belarus.

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[edit on 2005/4/26 by wecomeinpeace]




posted on Apr, 26 2005 @ 06:41 AM
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Condoleezza Rice also made some disparaging statements regarding Russia's democratic record, a subject which has increasingly been in the media spotlight since President Putin's apparent back-peddling on reforms in the former Communist state.

This is the kind of stuff I don't get. What is under the surface? rice wouldn't make any statement that wasn't already approved (Karl Rove?) for publication.

What 'deal' was made to Russia to allow the US to grandstand like this I don't know.



posted on Apr, 27 2005 @ 06:20 AM
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Well the noise hasn't only been coming from the U.S., just the U.S. is the only country with the balls to openly criticize Russia. Putin has reacted to this in his recent annual address to the Russian parliament.

Russia Will Pursue Democracy, but in Its Own Way, Putin Says - nytimes.com



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