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Rasmussen: NATO Enlargement Benefits Russia

NATO MeetingBRUSSELS. June 7 (Interfax) - NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has argued that NATO's enlargement strengthens Russia's security.

"Of course we are aware of the fact that our Russian partners have never been too enthusiastic about enlargement of NATO. But, if one looks calmly at this issue, one can see that new members have not only enriched and strengthened the Alliance but the process itself has been beneficial to Euro-Atlantic security, including that of the Russian Federation," Rasmussen told Interfax.

Rasmussen said NATO has no intention to station "substantial combat forces" on the territory of new members. "Moreover, the member States of NATO have no intention, no plan and no reason to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of new members. The Alliance will continue honoring these pledges," he said.

"Each prospective (NATO) member has to do a lot of serious homework first. It must ensure that its political standards are up to scratch - and one of these standards is good relations with neighbors, which often means Russia," Rasmussen said.

"Including new European democracies in NATO has meant the enlargement of the zone of stability and predictability," he said.


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