NATO Chief Congratulates Putin, Seeks Meeting Soon

NATO says Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has telephoned Vladimir Putin to congratulate him on his victory in Russia's presidential election, and they agreed to meet "in the not-too-distant future."

NATO says Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has telephoned Vladimir Putin to congratulate him on his victory in Russia's presidential election.

A NATO statement said Rasmussen and Putin agreed during the call to meet "in the not-too-distant future."

According to the statement, Putin "underlined his commitment to good, stable relations with NATO."

Rasmussen, for his part, called for NATO and Russia to reach an agreement on NATO's planned European missile-defense system.

Moscow has objected to the missile-defense plan, saying it could be directed against Russia -- an allegation rejected by NATO.

The project calls for the installation of NATO radars and missile interceptors in Eastern Europe and Turkey.

Because of differences over the issue, a NATO-Russia summit in May in Chicago is still not confirmed.

With AP and dpa reporting


Copyright (c) RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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