Russia still angry over NATO expansion

(AP) - Russia is deeply worried by NATO's pledge to eventually bring Ukraine and Georgia into the alliance, despite its failure to do so immediately, a senior Russian diplomat said Friday.

Sergei Ryabkov, chief of the Russian Foreign Ministry's department for European cooperation, spoke just before President Vladimir Putin sat down for a meeting with NATO leaders on the sidelines of a summit in the Romanian capital.

NATO chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer later said the Russian leader's talks with alliance leaders were "frank and open" and ended on a good note, although there were no major breakthroughs.

"It would be wrong to describe it as a clash of views," de Hoop Scheffer said.

But he conceded: "It is true that NATO enlargement is a contentious issue. The minds do not exactly meet, to put it mildly."

Ryabkov said Russia's ties with NATO had soured over what he described as the reluctance by the West to listen to its concerns.

"A culture of searching for solutions on the basis of taking mutual interests into account has been lost," he told reporters.

He criticized NATO's decision Thursday to promise eventual membership to two of Russia's ex-Soviet neighbors. NATO failed to offer the two nations specific membership plans because Germany, France and some other alliance members feared the move would anger Russia.

De Hoop Scheffer reassured Ukraine and Georgia Friday that there was "not a sliver of a doubt" the two ex-Soviet republics would join the alliance before long.

He also told reporters at the NATO summit in Bucharest that the Western military alliance will help Ukraine in any way it can to make reforms.

"These countries will become members of NATO - there can be no misunderstanding about that," de Hoop Scheffer said.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said his country understands the challenges that delayed its bid and remains devoted to democratic and European values.

"I'm not a naive politician, and I clearly understand what debates and challenges we were speaking about," Yushchenko said. He also said he was confident that Ukraine would get a formal "membership action plan" at a December meeting of NATO foreign ministers.

But Ryabkov said that NATO's firm pledge to grant membership to Ukraine and Georgia infringed on the rights of their citizens.

"The allies have taken this decision without asking the population," he said.

Ukraine is divided between western regions that support the NATO bid and Russian-speaking eastern and southern provinces that staunchly oppose it.

In Georgia, the majority of citizens supported the NATO bid in a recent referendum. But that nation is plagued by conflicts in the separatist provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which have close ties with Russia.

Putin has vowed to broaden Russian support for the regions and warned Georgia and the West against the use of force or pressure to bring them back under central government control, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

It said Putin's pledge came in response to messages from the leaders of Abkhazia and South Ossetia expressing concern about Georgia's NATO drive.

Putin, however, stopped far short of saying Russia would recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia - a move that would severely damage ties with the West and could spark a war with Georgia. He gave no indication that Russia would abandon its official acceptance of Georgia's territorial integrity.

Ryabkov also voiced a strong concern about NATO's support for the U.S. plan to deploy missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic.

The NATO statement called on its members to explore ways in which the planned U.S. shield can be linked with future missile defenses elsewhere. It said leaders should come up with recommendations to be considered at their next meeting in 2009.

"We have new concerns about plans to integrate U.S. missile defense plans with NATO system," he said, signaling that Russia may abandon cooperation with NATO on a short-range missile defense in Europe.

"We can't sit aside and watch how they rubber-stamp decisions made by other people changing the security situation for Russia," Ryabkov said, referring to Washington's missile defense plan.

Putin views the U.S. missile shield as a threat to Russia's nuclear deterrent and has shrugged aside U.S. pledges that it is intended to counter a missile threat from Iran. He and Bush are set to discuss the issue at their meeting in Putin's Black Sea residence in Sochi this weekend.

Ryabkov said that, despite sharp differences, Russia stands ready to cooperate with the alliance on issues where their interests converge, such as Afghanistan.

Russia has agreed to a transit deal with NATO to allow the alliance to ship non-lethal freight across Russian territory to military forces in Afghanistan, he said.

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Russian company may set up 'smart' bus stops in Azerbaijan's liberated lands
Russian company may set up 'smart' bus stops in Azerbaijan's liberated lands
Azerbaijan boosts production of building materials
Azerbaijan boosts production of building materials
Germany might offer its experience in restoration of Azerbaijan’s Karabakh
Germany might offer its experience in restoration of Azerbaijan’s Karabakh
Loading Bars
Latest
Azerbaijan climbs to 26th place in UEFA coefficients table
Russia, China are friends in each other’s interests, not against others — Putin
Chronicles of Victory: First VP Mehriban Aliyeva interviewed by Trend News Agency on October 22, 2020
Chronicles of Victory: October 22, 2020
French PM pledges cash to help drivers cope with rising energy prices
Qarabag FC wins another victory within Conference League
Putin makes statement on Karabakh
Uzbek Central Bank: Food prices have risen by 14.4%
Georgian Parliament Speaker to meet Moldovan counterpart in Greece
Brussels' utopian green energy fantasies spark energy crisis in Europe — Hungarian PM
EU prioritizes digital sector development in Azerbaijan
Russia planning several new business visits to Azerbaijan by year-end - official
Russian company to implement micro-mobile transport project in Baku
First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva makes Instagram post on visit to Zangilan (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan Investment Holding, Kazakhstan National Welfare Fund sign memorandum of co-op
SOFAZ’s revenues from profitable oil and gas sale up
Executive Power of Azerbaijan’s Tovuz district opens tender for road repairs
Kazakhstan, Russia discuss gas supply issues
Russian company may set up 'smart' bus stops in Azerbaijan's liberated lands
Azerbaijan publishes updated list of servicemen martyred during second Karabakh war
IBF VP talks growing interest of investors in Azerbaijan's liberated lands (VIDEO)
SOFAZ sees increase in budget revenues
Uzbekistan's GDP growth in 9M2021 sparks promising forecast
Azerbaijan developing preliminary conceptual design of railway route to liberated Kalbajar (PHOTO)
Goldman Sachs, Freshfields working on possible Porsche IPO
Kazakhstan to liquidate emergency wells in several regions
Large-amount loans issued in Iran's services sector
Azerbaijan, Russia talk cooperation opportunities in insurance sector
Azerbaijan records surplus in state budget
Azerbaijan's Sumgayit Technologies Park, Alat FEZ sign MoU on strategic co-op
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Head of EU delegation talks financial aid to Azerbaijan, following end of Karabakh war
U.S. weekly jobless claims drop to 19-month low
Uzbek Central Bank publishes data on country's gold, currency reserves
Trade turnover between Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan grows sharply
FIMI buys Ashot Ashkelon stake from Elbit Systems for $88m
Azerbaijan confirms 2,005 more COVID-19 cases, 1,011 recoveries
Uzbek Central Bank reveals data on total liabilities of banks
Iran sees decrease in load/unload operations in Astara port
Kremlin hopes for EU certification of Russia's vaccine
Bahar Azadi gold coin price begins to rise in Iran
India enters 100-crore vaccine club to fight Covid, PM Modi says nation scripts history
Hungarian University Forum and alumni meeting in Baku
Central Bank of Iran shares data on loans issued for trade sector
Turkmenistan doubles greenhouse tomato exports to Russia
Turkey's position on opening Zangezur corridor - unchanged – President Erdogan
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for October 21
Georgia shares data on its top goods exported to Russia
Iran sees increase of cargo loading/unloading at its Charak port
Turkish President to attend opening of Azerbaijan’s Fuzuli International Airport
India offered humanitarian assistance to Afghans, Taliban say after 2nd meeting
'Turkic World' project aims to meet information demand - Turkish official
South Pars field revenues account for over half of Iran's state budget
Turkmenistan looks to launch new project jointly with UNDP, WB
Central Bank of Iran announces amount of loans issued in housing, construction sector
Turkmenistan interested in political stability, security in Afghanistan – Deputy FM
Iran’s CBI reveals amount of loans issued for industrial and mining sectors
India achieves the major milestone of ‘one billion’ vaccinations
Volume of loaded/unloaded cargo in Iran’s Fereidoonkenar port down
Ruling parties of Azerbaijan, Turkey to hold meeting
Iran records increase in exports to Uzbekistan
Iranian president to visit Ardabil Province on border with Azerbaijan
Uzbekistan reveals total assets for banks with/without state share
Every martyr will live forever in hearts of Azerbaijani people - President Ilham Aliyev
SOCAR discloses oil transportation volume via Baku-Supsa
Our people did not bow down during occupation, did not forget about their native lands - Azerbaijani president
Georgia-Russia trade turnover increases in 9M2021
Azerbaijan's military units in Kalbajar, Lachin undergo inspection amid coming winter (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Georgia shares data on COVID-19 cases for October 21
SOCAR’s capital investment plan fulfilled by over 63%
SOCAR reveals volume of electricity production, consumption
Iranian currency rates for October 21
Tesla's German plant hits snag as public consultation repeated
Iranian startup companies receive more loans from local banks
Activities in Iran’s Genaveh port increase
Egypt economy forecast to grow 5.1% in year to June, 5.5% in 2022/23
Pfizer vaccine very effective against Delta variant in adolescents in Israel
Iranians detained in Azerbaijan due to falsified of customs documents sent back to Iran
Exports of Iran to Tajikistan soar
Iran begins new round of power plant overhaul operations
Zangilan will become transport and logistical center of our country - President Aliyev
SOCAR fulfills oil refining plan by over 103%
Gas could lose market share to coal this winter
Russia sees record high of 36,339 daily COVID-19 cases, crisis center says
Does Europe have enough gas stocks to get through winter?
Azerbaijan considering proposals for building new modern gas-turbine power plant
Azerbaijan announces time of commissioning floating solar power plant
Azerbaijan to develop atlas of renewable energy potential
Kazakhstan eyes attracting investments in processing industry
Turkey shares data on number of cars transshipped via local ports in 9M2021
Iran to use alternative fuel for power plants
Iran shares data on grain imports from Russia
Azerbaijan updates on renewable energy projects with ACWA Power, Masdar
Iran looking to expand export to neighboring countries - President Raisi
Amount of loans issued by Iranian banks continue to grow
Iran provides several loans in agricultural sector
Oil mixed, but solid U.S. demand underpins sentiment
1 dead, 33 injured in restaurant explosion in northeast China
Iran, Kazakhstan urged to set out a new framework for bilateral ties
Number of beneficiaries receiving subsistence allowance increases in Georgia
All news