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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

NATO Rules Out Special Ties With Moscow

NATO said Wednesday it would not conclude any formal agreement with Russia on special ties demanded by Moscow and that Russia could not have any right to interfere with alliance decisions and actions. Deputy Secretary General Sergio Balazino told a news conference after a meeting of defense ministers that while NATO wanted to build "step by step" a close relationship with Russia, it was: "not ready or willing to give anybody a droit de regard or veto over its actions. "There will never be a clause or understanding whereby Russia can interfere or have a say in NATO's life," he added. "A formal document ... is ruled out by the NATO council." Those tough words came shortly after Defense Minister Pavel Grachev had told a meeting of defense ministers in Brussels that Moscow was looking to create a mechanism for broader political and military consultations with NATO. The remarks came a day after Grachev relieved NATO officials by saying that Russia would sign up for the Partnership for Peace plan without setting conditions. Yet Grachev's remarks appeared to be yet another in a series of attempts to mold the Partnership for Peace plan more to Russia's liking that have left many analysts confused. "What we are suggesting is not to limit the sphere of partnership, but to enrich it with cooperation of Russia with NATO, not only in the military area but in other important spheres," Grachev said. "We are suggesting creating ... an active mechanism for global consultations on all kinds of problems of European and global security." On Tuesday, Grachev had said he was seeking an additional agreement that would outline Russia's relations with NATO, although it was not clear what that entailed. "I am at a complete loss as to what they want," said one Western military attach? in Moscow who has been mystified by Russia's contradictory statements on the entire partnership issue. Partnership for Peace is NATO's plan to offer junior membership to nations but stopping short of providing security guarantees. President Boris Yeltsin first said in January Russia would join the plan, but he has stalled since then as many Russian officials agitated for special conditions to reflect Russia's military weight and size. "There was never any doubt that Russia would sign this document," Anatoly Krasikov, the president's spokesman, said Wednesday. "The discussion is about the conditions under which Russia will participate in this partnership: with the status of a poor relative, or with the status of a large, democratic stronghold." (Reuters, MT)