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Ukrainian president welcomes NATO expansion

Warsaw, 6 November: Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma welcomes NATO expansion to the East and believes that it will make it possible to combat terrorism more effectively.

When asked to comment on the item from the declaration of the conference on terrorism prevention stating that one of the responses to the challenge of terrorism is NATO expansion, the Ukrainian president said: "What am I supposed to do if Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is talking about Russia's entrance in NATO."

"These words of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin have a deep meaning," the Ukrainian president said.

"The meaning is that today there are no two camps opposing each other," Kuchma said. "Russia is not an enemy [of NATO]. It [Russia] is setting an example of partnership, in particular, in such delicate questions as terrorism prevention," Kuchma said.

Kuchma said that one should think "about cooperation, not opposition, and fight a common enemy".

Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski told Interfax that "NATO expansion means security for all of us, not only strategically, but also as regards all issues".

"No NATO country can have ethnic or other conflicts," he said.

Kwasniewski believes that NATO expansion to the East "will help everyone, including Russia".

NATO has good experience of cooperating with Russia, and in this issue "we must move forward and create an effective system of interaction", the Polish president said.

Speaking about the work of the Chechen rebels' information structures on the territory of Poland, Kwasniewski said that his country is ready to fight terrorism in all its manifestations. "If they [Chechens] carry out terrorist acts, actions that pose a threat to people, we will fight them to the full extent of the law," he said.

"Let not a single terrorist feel secure, no matter where he is," Kwasniewski said.

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