Skip to comments.Gorbachev: Russia needs better NATO ties
Posted on 01/18/2002 5:21:41 PM PST by Sawdring
MOSCOW, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Russia and NATO should build stronger ties in order to stand up to security challenges, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said Saturday.
Gorbachev spoke on the sidelines of a congress that merged Russia's social-democratic movements into a single party.
Gorbachev's remarks on ties between Russia and NATO echoed comments by the alliance's secretary general, George Robertson, who was in the Russian capital Thursday and Friday.
"It is clear that both Russia and NATO should bear responsibility for security in Europe and Asia," said Gorbachev.
The former Soviet leader proposed that Moscow and Brussels scrap existing bilateral agreements in favor of a new one that should redefine warming relations.
"The old deal should be left to history," added Gorbachev.
According to Gorbachev, a new agreement between Russia and its NATO partners shouldn't envision Russia's potential induction into the bloc.
"It will suffice that Russia becomes an associated member of the alliance," argued Gorbachev.
On Friday, President Vladimir Putin ruled out a Russian bid for NATO membership, but encouraged further development of ties "as far as the alliance is ready to go."
Speaking on behalf of Russia's social-democrats, Gorbachev pledged Saturday full support "to the far-reaching initiatives of Russia's president, which are giving a new chance parternship between the United States and Europe."
However, he added, Russia's foreign policy should focus "on the interests of our people and develop ties with other nations as well."
Among these, Gorbachev mentioned "China, India, Korea -- our neighbors with whom we need to get together."
Gorbachev also addressed the issue of Afghanistan's post-war transitional period.
"It is necessary to help Afghanistan create a coalition government representing all ethnic groups," said Gorbachev.
Nevertheless, he added, Kabul will still depend for a long time on international assistance to implement reforms and build a democratic society.
Which, I guess, leaves us immune from the criticisms he leveled at Russia for threatening to jump the gun
Yet, we see Putin and Gorby, the UN and the EU all pursuing the same goals. Is it a coincidence that Putin is X-KGB and was Gorbachev's personal pick for successor before he was 'ousted'?
"We will never achieve unity in Europe until we create a single security and defense space," he said. "If we fail to do that ... we will continue to mistrust each other."
- Vladimir Putin
"You have made our union of nations stronger, but I believe you can make it stronger still. I am closely following the European Union's efforts to forge a common foreign and security policy, and look forward to many more instances where the European Union will act with and through the United Nations, in the cause not only of peace in Europe, but of peace and prosperity worldwide"
- Kofi Annan
The solution is for Europe to turn to Russia, "which has become their much needed ally in the war against terrorism." Moscow demands a "long-term arrangement" from NATO with at least "a limited participation" in alliance deliberations to "resolve European security problems."
- Voice of Russia World Service (Official broadcasting service of the Russian government)
"I am enthusiastic to build a strong and large Europe, not only with 25 or 27 members, but also one which will include the Russian Federation, whenever that becomes possible"
- Silvio Berlusconi
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