World News and Trends: Russia becomes NATO partner

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Russia becomes NATO partner

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Russia will not have voting rights as a full partner, but a Russian representative will be present at NATO meetings, thereby all but eliminating the possibility of a conflict between NATO and its old enemy, formerly the linchpin of the communist Soviet Union. One Russian opposition member of the Duma, interviewed on the BBC World Service, interpreted this development as America losing interest in Europe.

After the NATO-Russia deal in Rome, the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, stayed on for more discussions with EU leaders to promote closer ties between the two. The European Union remains Russia's biggest trading partner and largest investor.

Although seen as a triumph for the West, the new security arrangements come at a time of increasing tension between the United States and its Western European allies over the war on terror, Israel, trade issues and other conflicts. (Source: Associated Press.)