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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rybkin Backs Russia-NATO Political Treaty

The new secretary of Russia's security council, Ivan Rybkin, said Wednesday he favored Russia participating in NATO's political structure, Interfax reported.

"Once Russia is inside NATO's political organization there will be a progressive integration of Russia in European collective security," he said.

Negotiations between Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization could make progress during a summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Lisbon on Dec. 2 and 3, Rybkin said.

NATO Secretary General Javier Solana said earlier that NATO and Russia would sign a treaty or charter in 1997.

"No decision about [NATO] enlargement will be made in 1996, and no formal signature [of a document with Russia] will take place in 1996," Solana said during a visit to Stockholm.

The two decisions could be taken "more or less at the same time," probably around mid-1997, he added.

Moscow is opposed to NATO membership for its former communist allies in eastern Europe, and is calling for a gradual process, including a reform of NATO and the signing of a pact which would give Russia legal guarantees, before any expansion of the alliance.

Russia says an accord with NATO should be legally binding, giving it a de facto right to review alliance decisions.

It wants an accord that goes further than a simple charter or declaration of principles.

NATO leaders will hold a summit in mid-1997, where several central and eastern European countries will be invited to join.

Membership talks are expected to last two years so candidates can join by 1999, on NATO's 50th anniversary.

The Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland are seen as most likely new members.