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From owner-labor-l@YORKU.CA Sun Jun 9 04:30:05 2002
Date: Sun, 9 Jun 2002 03:28:28 -0400
Reply-To: grok <grok@SPRINT.CA>
Sender: Forum on Labor in the Global Economy <LABOR-L@YORKU.CA>
From: grok <grok@SPRINT.CA>
Subject: NATO: Caucasus, Central Asia Within Sphere Of Influence
Comments: To: llo <llo@coollist.com>


NATO admits in public Caucasus and Central Asia are within sphere of its interests

RIA Novosti, 9 May 2002

BRUSSELS, May 9. /RIA Novosti/ - NATO for the first time has openly outlined its strategy after admittance to the Alliance of Central and East European states and establishing new relations with Russia.

As well as ties with Russia and Ukraine, the strategy envisages the development of contacts with Caucasian and Central Asian countries, according to Nickolas Burns, US Permanent Representative to NATO. The Alliance should make sure that a cooperation axis can run through all the countries standing up for peace in Europe, according to Mr Burns.

The United States and other NATO members take a great interest in expanding their activities to Central Asia, he emphasised. These countries have gained significance in the wake of the anti-terrorist war in Afghanistan. Although they do not seek the NATO membership, but do want to develop relations with the Alliance, said the US official. They are after strong political and military contacts, something which can be achieved thanks to new relations with the partners.

The Caucasus and Central Asia are known to have been maintaining contacts with NATO as part of its Partnership for Peace programme and within the framework of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, EAPC. The whole of the region is living through a transitional period, a high-ranking NATO diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

Many of the regional countries have given considerable assistance to the US and its allies in their effort against Afghanistan's Taliban movement, said a diplomat.

Partnership for Peace Programme was established in 1993-1994 and was oriented toward Central and East European countries. Three of them have since become NATO members, with the rest being this year's candidates for the membership in the organisation.