NATO secretary general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has had two tough meetings in Moscow with the Russian leadership. On Tuesday morning he had talks with the foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, followed by an afternoon session with President Vladimir Putin.
Going into the Putin meeting he summed up the three areas in which Mocow and Washington are finding it difficult to agree, and where much “hard work” remains: “We should continue discussions on subjects which we do not see eye to eye, be it Kosovo, be it missile defence, be it the Conventional Forces in Europe”, he said.
Russia’s foreign minister agreed there was plenty to disagree about, but underlined the progress made: “We view the Nato-Russia Council as a valuable forum to discuss everything, despite our differing points of view, and I hope we can better understand each other.”
On all the sticking points – political, economic, and social – pressures are building on the two partners to find solutions to some of Europe’s most pressing problems, and as yet no offers or compromises appear to have done the trick.