Russia's Medvedev says will attend NATO Lisbon summit

19th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev said Tuesday that he had accepted an invitation to attend meetings at next month's summit of the NATO alliance in Lisbon.

The leaders of the Western military alliance are due to meet on November 19 and 20 in the Portuguese capital, and had invited their Russian counterpart to take part in a side meeting of the NATO-Russia council.

"We spoke about cooperation between Russia and NATO," Medvedev said, standing alongside France's President Nicolas Sarkozy and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"Here I would like to announce that I will go to the Russia-NATO summit," he said. "It is an important conversation, meaningful and useful."

"I believe it will facilitate finding proper compromises and the development of dialogue between Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as a whole," he told reporters.

Merkel welcomed Medvedev's decision to attend, saying: "We should be able to put the relationship between Russia and NATO on solid foundations."

In Lisbon, the NATO powers are due to unveil their new "strategic concept", the framework within which the Euro-Atlantic allies intend to coordinate their defence and foreign policy goals.

They will, in particular, discuss the final blueprint for a missile defence system, a plan which has in the past rekindled Cold War rivalries with Moscow but which Western powers now hope Russia will participate in.

Medvedev was speaking in France at the end of talks with Sarkozy and Merkel on developing a common European security vision, binding Moscow more closely to the West 20 years after the end of the Cold War.

© 2010 AFP

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