NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has argued that Russia would shoot itself in the foot if it decided to use its energy exports to Europe as a foreign policy weapon because, he warned, the Europeans would then look for alternative sources of energy imports.
Russia needs positive relations with NATO countries, Rasmussen said in an interview with Interfax a transcript of which will be republished in Moscow newspaper Novaya Gazeta.
"Still NATO allies represent a formidable economic force in the world. And of course it's in Russia's interests to cooperate with that zone of economic strength," he said.
"I take it very seriously to actually move forward towards a true strategic partnership between NATO and Russia," Rasmussen said. "I think it's in our mutual interest. And in the word strategic partnership also lies the notion that we can disagree on certain areas while we move forward in other areas."
"I think it's in Russia's interests to develop a strong partnership with NATO," he added. "Firstly, because there are a lot of areas where we share fundamental security interests - Afghanistan, counter-narcotics, counter-terrorism, counter-piracy, just to mention a few. These are the concrete interests."
"It's in Russia's interests to attract foreign investments, to stimulate positive economic development in Russia. We know it makes the whole business and investment climate more attractive, if investors feel that overall it is a secure environment," Rasmussen said.
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