RUSSIALINK: “Common interests should prevail in Russian-NATO relations – Putin” – Interfax

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

BOCHAROV RUCHEI, Sochi. Dec 3 (Interfax) – Russia stands ready for cooperation with NATO and expects that common security interests will prevail in its dialogue with the alliance, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

“London is hosting a NATO summit marking the 70th anniversary of the alliance’s foundation right now, on December 3-4,” Putin said, opening a regular conference on defense matters on Tuesday, held, as usual, in Sochi.

“Definitely, bloc-based thinking stereotypes of the past years cannot be a good tool for looking for and making efficient decisions in rapidly changing conditions,” he said.

“At the same time, you know, we have repeatedly voiced our preparedness for cooperation with NATO and manifested our willingness to jointly oppose real threats,” Putin said.

Among such threats he listed international terrorism, local armed conflicts, and the danger of uncontrollable proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

“We have repeatedly taken steps to meet the alliance halfway and tried to offer a constructive agenda, we have held several joint events, but after 2008 our cooperation was effectively phased out,” he said.

“The alliance has acted toward Russia incorrectly, if not brazenly, and absolutely ignored the Russian Federation’s interests,” Putin said.

“I mean the partner-like interaction that we have proposed. Nevertheless, I still expect that interests of common security and a stable and peaceful future for the planet will prevail,” he said.

The alliance was set up on April 4, 1949 “as the main component of the Cold War being unfolded at the time and a way to oppose the Soviet Union,” Putin said.

“As is well known, there is no Soviet Union now, and there is no Warsaw Pact, which was a military pact created in response to NATO’s establishment, while NATO still exists and is developing,” Putin said.

The number of NATO members has grown from 12 at the moment of its inception to 29 now, he said.

“The aggregate military expenditures of the alliance members account for over 70% of the global amount of military expenditures,” Putin said.