Working Visit to Moscow of NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop SchefferThe new Secretary General of NATO, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, paid a working visit to Moscow on April 7-8. He was received by President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin. Talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov, and conversations with Secretary of the Security Council Igor Ivanov and Minister of Defense Sergey Ivanov took place. The NATO Secretary General also met with senior officials and members of the State Duma Committees on International Affairs, Security and Defense.
In the course of the meetings a frank exchange of views on the state of, and prospects for the further development of Russia-NATO relations in the conditions of the Alliance's expansion was held. There were accentuated on the Russian side the concerns that have arisen in connection with the NATO expansion. Attention was drawn to the necessity of strengthening the atmosphere of mutual trust and transparency in the military field, including by the acceleration of the process of the ratification of the Agreement on Adaptation of the CFE Treaty and the accession to it of the Baltic states and Slovenia, now NATO members.
The importance was noted of ensuring continuity in the work of the Russia-NATO Council (RNC), as the seven new members are joining in it. Guidelines were charted for the further development of cooperation through the intensification of the political dialogue on key international issues and joint counteraction against common challenges and threats, including implementation of the RNC projects and programs to combat terrorism and the proliferation of WMD, to secure the compatibility of military potentials, to respond to crises, to create a theater missile defense system, to eliminate anti-personnel landmines, and so on.
During the discussion of regional problems, the attention of the participants in the talks and conversations was focused on the situation in Kosovo, unanimously assessed as arousing the growing concern, as well as in Afghanistan and other hotbeds of tension.
Mutual interest was expressed in the ongoing building-up of the cooperative effort for the sake of promoting stability in the common Euro-Atlantic space and constructing an equitable and well-balanced European security architecture on the basis of mutually complementary efforts by various organizations.