Leaders of Russia and NATO all spoke in peaceful and confident tunes about bilateral relations during NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen's one-day visit to Russia on Wednesday. Despite plenty of promising words exchanged, Russian experts believed real attitudes of Moscow and NATO to each other remained foggy behind the curtains, as long-time issues of disputes including those concerning Georgia remained.
Fresh start from Lisbon
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday said his country 's relations with NATO have become "more productive and intensive. "
"This allows us to expand cooperation more attentively and to build a more solid security system in Europe and in the world," Medvedev told Fogh Rasmussen.
In response, NATO chief stressed that Lisbon summit slated for Nov. 19-20 should clearly convey such a signal to Russian people, as the West sees Russia not as an enemy, but as a partner of strategic importance.
"The Lisbon meeting will become a real opportunity to turn a new page, to bury the ghosts of the past, and boldly look into the future," said Fogh Rasmussen, while naming the meeting as "a fresh start" and a chance for "modernization" of mutual relations.
"The Lisbon summit will be our preliminary work that hopefully will later serve as a basis for making decisions on further cooperation in the future. It will be a very important, very positive step if we could agree to build our work in this way," said the NATO secretary general.
Few feasible cooperative sectors
Despite warm words, local analysts remained skeptical on real intentions of both sides toward each other.
Alexander Khramchikhin, deputy director of Moscow's Political and Military Analysis Institute, told Xinhua that one should tell differences between diplomatic gestures and 'realpolitik.'
"NATO and Russia behave like two partners in a ballroom politely trying to avoid stepping on each other's feet," he said.
Medvedev, Fogh Rasmussen and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov all addressed issues of mutual concern at their talks, such as anti-missile defense, European security and Afghanistan, said the expert.
"But partners with their long history of distrust cannot transfer themselves into a loving couple swiftly," explained Khramchikhin figuratively.