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Moscow holds NATO Afghanistan talks

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen has arrived in Moscow for talks on boosting Russian assistance for the war in Afghanistan.

Moscow has offered only lukewarm support for the war and has limited itself to providing its territory for NATO military transit, turning down requests to provide helicopters and training for Afghan pilots or to train the country's counter-narcotics police.

The two former foes, however, occasionally cooperate on counter-terrorism and counter-narcotic operations.

Rasmussen was to meet with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and later with President Dmitry Medvedev.

Medvedev is to attend a Russia-NATO Council summit in Lisbon, Portugal, later this month.

Rasmussen said in a note on his Facebook page that "the time has come for a fresh start in NATO Russia relations.

"The clear message to the Russian people is that NATO does not see Russia as an enemy, but as a partner of strategic importance," Rasmussen said.

Russia's official military doctrine, published in February, cites NATO's possible expansion toward its borders as the country's No.1 foreign threat.

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