Russia-NATO talks 'historic moment': Merkel

20th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday hailed a summit meeting between Russia and the NATO alliance as a historic turning point in East-West relations.

Speaking shortly before Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev was due to arrive in Lisbon to meet leaders of the NATO powers, Merkel welcomed what she said was an opportunity to build new ties with a former foe.

"A former military adversary is now clearly a partner," she told reporters.

"It's a turning point in working together that we can clearly call historic. Of course there's still a long road ahead of us, to build security with Russia, but to start on this road has extraordinary importance."

Saturday's meeting is the first of Russian and NATO leaders in the alliance's NATO-Russia Council since April 2008, before Moscow's brief war with Western ally Georgia, and is widely seen as a breakthrough.

US President Barack Obama, who is promoting what he has dubbed a "reset" of Washington's strained ties to its former Cold War foe, has said Moscow will be invited to take part in NATO's planned anti-missile shield.

The allies will also talk to Medvedev about their war in Afghanistan, hoping to convince him to expand the list of goods allowed to transit through Russia on their way to the front and to supply Kabul with transport helicopters.

© 2010 AFP

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