U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday urged Russia to take part in a NATO plan for European missile defense, Bloomberg reported (see GSN, Feb. 22).
"While Russia faces challenges to its security, NATO is not among them,” Clinton said in Washington. "We want a cooperative NATO-Russia relationship that produces concrete results and draws NATO and Russia closer."
"Just as Russia is an important partner in efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation, so should it be in missile defense,” she said.
Clinton's remarks preceded a meeting today by NATO envoys on updating the "strategic concept" undergirding the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which was established 51 years ago and involves Canada, European nations and the United States.
Moscow has been vocal in its opposition to inclusion of former Soviet republics such as Georgia in the alliance, and has also turned a wary eye toward Western missile defense programs.
In recent weeks, Moscow has criticized plans by the Obama administration to locate missile shield systems in Romania and other Eastern European states as a defense against Iranian short- and medium-range missiles.
This was not the first time Clinton called on Moscow to take part in missile defense talks for Europe. She made similar comments in Paris last month.
Yesterday, the top U.S. diplomat said she could envision Russia at some point joining NATO. "I can imagine it but I'm not sure the Russians can imagine it," Clinton said.
Terrorism and the spread of nuclear weapons are the "key challenges" facing the alliance, the secretary said.
"The danger of a nuclear attack from a nonstate actor has increased," Clinton said. She said efforts by Iran and North Korea to produce better missiles were "reviving the specter of an interstate nuclear attack." (Indira Lakshmanan, Bloomberg/Business Week, Feb. 23).
Clinton added that while Washington has "real differences" with Moscow on several issues, the Obama administration is resolved to collaborate with the Kremlin on shared areas of interest, Reuters reported.
"We want a cooperative NATO-Russia relationship that produces concrete results," Clinton said (Andrew Quinn, Reuters Feb. 22).