Five years ago, a new alliance was established: the Nato-Russia Council. Speaking at the historic opening session, President Bush concluded:
We will also look ahead to other areas, where we can expand our cooperation, such as missile defense and airspace control that can strengthen the security of all of Europe."missile defense ... airspace control ... as our trust and track record of success grows" ... As NATO secretary-general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meet today in Moscow for the fifth anniversary meeting of the Council, one can but wonder how such high hopes have been dashed so quickly.
Nothing we do will subtract from NATO's core mission. We will be practical, moving forward step by step. And as our trust and track record of success grows, so will the breadth and depth of our work together.
The NATO-Russia Council offers Russia a path toward forming an alliance with the alliance. It offers all our nations a way to strengthen our common security, and it offers the world a prospect of a more hopeful century.