(Reuters) - NATO leaders and Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed the positive mood at a 90-minute summit on Friday intended to thaw chilly relations, but said they made no breakthroughs on their many disputes.
At his last meeting with NATO before he steps down, Putin again criticised the 26-nation Western military pact's plans to expand eastwards after it promised former Soviet republics Ukraine and Georgia they would one day become members.
But the former Cold War foes chose to emphasise positive developments in ties rather than their disagreements to set the stage for improved cooperation when Putin's protege, Dmitry Medvedev, becomes president next month.
"The talks were in a positive spirit," NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told a news conference after the talks in Bucharest. But he added: "I cannot report that this morning we saw stunning breakthroughs."
A source in the Russian delegation said Putin had told NATO leaders including U.S. President George W. Bush, with whom he has a summit in Russia at the weekend, that he saw scope for better cooperation.
"He cited many ... sectors where Russia and NATO could cooperate," the source said, listing Afghanistan and counter-terrorism as possible areas.
But he added: "NATO's expansion is a problem for Russia."
The tone was very different from Putin's repeated tirades against the West in the past year or so, including accusations at a security conference in Munich last year that it was bent on starting a new arms race.
"There have been no substantive changes of the main issues -- but no fireworks either," said one alliance diplomat.