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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Solana Hopes to Sign Deal

NATO Secretary General Javier Solana said he hoped to sign a deal on future relations between Russia and the Western alliance by the end of this year, Interfax said Tuesday.

"In my opinion the name of the document is not important, though it may become important in the future," Solana told Interfax at NATO headquarters in Brussels. "The contents now appear an issue of bigger importance and we are working on them."

"In any case such a document will be signed before 1997 starts, or if we are lucky before the end of 1996," he added.

Solana, outlining the planned document, said he wanted it to suit both Russia and NATO.

"One can imagine this document consisting of three parts, the first of which will be a declaration, the second will be a mechanism for consultations and the third a mechanism for cooperation," he said.

Moscow has denounced NATO's expansion plans to include the former Soviet-bloc states in Eastern Europe and says an enlarged NATO could threaten Russia's national security.

But it has taken calmly an announcement by U.S. President Bill Clinton that the first Eastern European countries would join NATO by 1999, the alliance's 50th anniversary.

NATO diplomats have said they want to dovetail approval of both enlargement and a new pact for Russia at NATO summit meetings next year.

Russian officials appear to have concentrated on striking a deal which would guarantee Moscow's interests in the post-expansion period.

Officials in Moscow could not immediately say whether any progress had been reached recently at uneasy talks about future relations with NATO.

Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov has said Western leaders ruled out NATO expansion when the then Soviet Union was pulling its forces out of Eastern Europe in the late 1980s.

But Primakov says these promises were never put on paper and subsequently forgotten.

Russia wants to have a strong say in any NATO decisions which could concern its security interests -- something Solana has flatly rejected. Moscow also wants guarantees that NATO nuclear forces will never be deployed in Eastern Europe.

Solana said NATO had no such plans.

"As of today NATO has no spare nuclear missiles. We do not plan to deploy them on the territories of the countries which may receive invitations to join NATO," he said.

"These countries stick to a similar position and NATO's position on this will not change."