Clinton urges closer cooperation between NATO and Russia

Hillary Clinton (

Russia and NATO should cooperate more closely to combat growing transnational threats like nuclear proliferation, terrorism, piracy, and cyber security, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Monday.

- While Russia faces challenges to its security, NATO is not among them, Clinton said in a speech on the future of the trans-Atlantic military alliance, Radio Free Europe writes.

As NATO has expanded eastward in recent years, to include the Baltics and some Balkan states, Russia has viewed its growth with deep suspicion. Moscow strongly opposes NATO’s plan to offer membership to Georgia and Ukraine, which it regards as still part of its sphere of influence.

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Russia has also bristled anew at U.S. plans to build part of its missile defense system in Romania. In her speech Clinton acknowledged Russia’s anger over the Romania site but went a step further than offering the usual reassuring words that the system is not aimed at Moscow:

- Just as Russia is an important partner in efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation, so should it be in missile defense. And we invite Russia to join NATO in developing a missile defense system that can protect all citizens of Europe and Russia, she said.

Clinton also sent a message to Russia that the United States remains committed to European security despite the fact that its attention is being pulled away by events in Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, and even China, writes.