Combining the potentials of Russia and NATO can and must be a decisive factor in forming a new system of international relations, the Russian President told journalists.
Russia and NATO do not always see eye-to-eye on some security issues, the President noted. But what unites them is far more weighty and serious.
Moscow has agreed to the creation of the NATO-Russia Council, Mr Putin said, in pursuit of the goals that face international institutions in the modern world, in particular the fight against terrorism.
He said that the development of bilateral relations, notably between Russia and the US, need not cause any jealousy in the EU. He also noted that George Bush’s visit to Moscow had been a major contributing factor that made possible the signing of the summit agreement.
To illustrate the good relations between Russia and the EU, President Putin said that the current President of the European Union, Jose Maria Aznar, would go to Moscow with him although originally his arrival was scheduled for Wednesday. Mr Putin will hold the first consultations with him tonight.
On the topic of Ukraine’s accession to NATO, the Russian President said that it was entitled to make the decision independently. He does not see it as something that could cloud the relations between Russia and Ukraine. But President Putin stressed that Russia’s position on the expansion of the bloc remained unchanged.