NATO chief hopes Poland EU presidency boosts Russia ties

17th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Thursday he hoped Poland would use its upcoming presidency of the European Union to enhance the military alliance's ties with Russia.

"Poland can... play a special role in improving the relationship between Russia and NATO in the European Union and that would be beneficial in our endeavours to improve the overall Euro-Atlantic security," Rasmussen said at a joint press conference with Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski in Warsaw.

"We look very much forward to the Polish presidency of the European Union in the second half of this year," he said.

Having joined the European Union in 2004, Poland will take over the 27-member bloc's rotating presidency on July 1.

The NATO chief was in the Polish capital to mark the 12th anniversary of Poland's NATO entry along with fellow ex-communist states Hungary and the Czech Republic, a move that outraged their Soviet-era master Russia.

Poland's ties with Moscow have remained rocky since it peacefully shed communism in 1989, but its increasing importance as an EU member has seen Warsaw take on a conciliatory tone towards the Kremlin.

Rasmussen said he also thought Poland could play a role in enhancing cooperation between NATO and the European Union.

"Poland is a strong ally and has a strong position within the European Union and based on that Poland can play a special role in advancing our mutual cooperation," Rasmussen added.

© 2011 AFP

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