Updated: 30-Mar-2000 NATO Press Releases

(2000) 034

28 March 2000

Secretary General's Reaction to Vladimir Putin's election victory

The Secretary General has sent a telegram to President Putin to congratulate him on his victory in the Russian Presidential elections.

The Secretary General very much hopes that President Putin will use his clear victory to strengthen democracy and to steer Russia towards political and economic reform at home and closer cooperation with its Western partners. Such a policy is most likely to build stability and prosperity in Russia.

NATO is ready to reinforce its cooperation with Russia on the basis of the NATO-Russia Founding Act. During the Secretary General's recent visit to Moscow, President Putin indicated his readiness to broaden the dialogue. NATO is actively pursuing these opportunities with the Russian government. A relationship built on trust and close cooperation between Russia and the West remains essential for stability in Europe and beyond.

The NATO Allies continue to be concerned about the situation in Chechnya. The Secretary General hopes that President Putin will rapidly initiate a process to seek an enduring political solution in Chechnya. He hopes also that Russia will strenuously avoid any further suffering of Chechen civilians and that it will allow international humanitarian relief organisations unrestricted access to Chechnya.

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