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January 26, 2001

Remarks by President Putin of the Russian Federation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation  

 (...) The normalization of our relations with the North Atlantic Bloc is proceeding in a complex way. After the Balkan events, they have been thrown back and I am convinced that it was not through our fault. Now the quality of interaction is being gradually restored. And this is right. NATO is a real presence in European and world politics. If we manage to build a relationship in the spirit of frankness, openness and constructive interaction, it would make a substantial contribution to both European stability and our own security. I would like to stress that this is in the context of the interests of our state.
Even so, we still consider the line for the expansion of NATO to be a mistake and we openly declare in the dialogue with the Alliance that we reject it in principle. (...)