New NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Monday vowed to build a "true strategic partnership" with Russia, focusing on practical cooperation while shelving differences.
"I believe that during my term as NATO secretary general, we should develop a true strategic partnership with Russia. We should extend practical cooperation in areas where we share security interests," Rasmussen told reporters on his first day at work as NATO chief.
He said NATO and Russia can work together on terrorism, Afghanistan, piracy and non-proliferation of weapons and mass destruction and many other areas.
Rasmussen said differences between NATO and Russia should not poison the whole relationship. "I am not a dreamer. It is obvious that there will be fundamental issues on which we disagree... But we cannot let those areas of disagreement poison the whole relationship."
"My message to the Russian leadership and people is clear: let us build trust on cooperation and base our cooperation on shared interests," said Rasmussen.
Rasmussen replaced Jaap de Hoop Scheffer as NATO chief.
(Xinhua News Agency August 3, 2009)