Archive for the ‘NATO summit’ Category

Departing Putin Seeks to Stop NATO Gains , Missile Defense

March 31, 2008
By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV, Associated Press Writer 

MOSCOW – This week’s NATO summit in Romania will be Vladimir Putin‘s last appearance at a top-level international forum before he steps down as Russian president, still pushing to halt NATO‘s expansion into the stomping grounds of the former Soviet Union.
Natalya Vitrenko, who heads an anti-American party, left, burns ... 
Natalya Vitrenko, who heads an anti-American party, left, burns a NATO flag while rallying in front of U.S. Embassy to protest U.S. President George W. Bush’s visit and Ukraine’s efforts to join NATO, in Kiev, Ukraine, Monday, March 31, 2008.(AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

The Kremlin realizes it doesn’t have the power to force the West to reverse its recognition of Kosovo’s independence or persuade Washington to drop its plan to deploy missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic.

But Putin has had notable success in blocking NATO membership for its former Soviet neighbors — Ukraine and Georgia.

“Georgia’s accession into NATO will be seen here as an attempt to trigger a war in the Caucasus, and NATO membership for Ukraine will be interpreted as an effort to foment a conflict with Russia,” said Sergei Markov, a Russian parliament member with close links to the Kremlin.

Amid a litany of such threats from Moscow, some NATO members are reluctant to inflame tensions at the three-day summit that begins Wednesday in Bucharest.

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France will push U.S. on EU defense

March 31, 2008

By Jon Ward
The Washington Times
March 31, 2008

French commitments to send 1,000 additional soldiers to Afghanistan may be conditional on U.S. support for the European Union’s defense plan that some say will shift power away from U.S. and British interests.
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President Bush leaves this morning for a six-day trip to Eastern Europe and Russia, with an itinerary built around a two-day NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania.
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NATO’s mission in Afghanistan is at the top of the agenda, but delegates also will discuss the acceptance of three new members: Albania, Croatia and Macedonia.
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The 26 NATO members also will vote on whether to allow Georgia and Ukraine to begin the membership process. Russia’s opposition to the move promises to cast a long shadow on the summit.
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Mr. Bush will end his trip with a stop in the Russian coastal resort of Sochi, where he will meet with President Vladimir Putin and President-elect Dmitry Medvedev to discuss missile defense and other issues.

US President George W. Bush heads to Europe Monday to push NATO ...
US President George W. Bush heads to Europe Monday to push NATO allies for more support in Afghanistan and to meet with his outgoing Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, pictured here.(AFP/Pool/File/Mikhail Klimentyev)

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