CEOL
Nato, Russia renew ties, review Kosovo

PRISTINA, Mar 16, 2000 -- (Reuters) NATO and Russia met at ambassador level on Wednesday for the first time since alliance Secretary-General George Robertson visited Moscow last month and agreed to try to rebuild ties damaged over the Kosovo conflict.

The two former Cold War foes sat down at NATO's Brussels headquarters to discuss disarmament and military doctrine, a tangible sign of a return to "normal" relations in a first meeting since NATO's bombing campaign against Yugoslavia.

"It's almost like the good old days are back," said one NATO official.

Moscow severed most ties with the Western alliance almost a year ago in anger at NATO's attacks on Yugoslavia, a fellow Slav country and traditional friend of Moscow.

Reunited within the Permanent Joint Council (PJC), the 19 NATO ambassadors and their Russian counterpart, Ambassador Sergei Kislyak, discussed a broad range of issues - from Kosovo to arms control.

"They (ambassadors) reiterated their determination to cooperate closely in all areas, including the protection of Kosovo's minorities," a NATO communique said.

"They underlined that the international community will not tolerate provocation and other attempts to undermine the peace process," they added, calling on the international community to send extra civil police to the region.

Both sides also updated each other on their respective new strategic concepts and briefed on arms control issues, such as the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, initiatives in the field of weapons of mass destruction, developments in open skies policy and the comprehensive test ban treaty.

The PJC is due to meet again on April 12.



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