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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

NATO Plans New Members

BRUSSELS -- NATO will tell Russia next week that it still plans to take in Eastern European states as members despite the current problems in relations between Moscow and the West, alliance sources said Friday. A senior NATO official told reporters that alliance foreign ministers, meeting in Istanbul, would decide how best to forge a relationship with Russia following Moscow's demands for special ties that would reflect its status as a major power. Russia and NATO have been at odds recently over issues ranging from Bosnia to arms control and Moscow is firmly opposed to the alliance taking in former satellites such as Poland and Hungary. The official, who asked not to be identified, said that while NATO saw closer relations with Moscow as crucial to the future of European security this would not affect "the stated policy of an enlargement of the alliance over time." Other NATO sources said the Istanbul meeting would deliver a clear message to Russia that it could have no direct influence on decisions about taking on new members. "This is not negotiable and it will be stated clearly," said one source, who asked not to be identified.