Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 232

While reiterating Russia’s continued opposition to any eastward expansion of NATO, Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov yesterday said in Brussels that Russia was willing to enter into negotiations with the Alliance "in order to settle any issues that might be of concern to us." He spoke after meeting with the NATO foreign ministers. Primakov stressed that any subsequent agreement must be far more than just a general set of principles and should contain "very specific, very concrete" points dealing with Russia’s security concerns. He also repeated Russia’s view that the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) should be the leading body in any new European security system, but seemed reconciled to the reality of NATO’s predominance. "NATO is a real organization, a real force," he said, " and we as pragmatists will take this into account." (Reuter, RIA-Novosti, Itar-Tass, December 11) In Moscow, meanwhile, Defense Council secretary Yuri Baturin said yesterday that although NATO at present does not constitute a military threat to Russia, its expansion is inconsistent with the interests of European security. (Interfax, December 11)

Decision on Defense Minister Could Herald Big Changes in Russia’s Military Establishment.