From AFP: NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen Friday said that Russia was not a threat to the alliance, as he sought to reassure the ex-Soviet Baltic states which are jittery about their resurgent former master.

In an interview with the Lithuanian daily Lietuvos Rytas, Rasmussen said he had received from Moscow “clear signals of its interest in a new start in our ties.”

“I don’t consider Russia a threat, neither to the Baltic states nor the other members of the alliance. Russia is not a threat to NATO,” he was quoted as saying.

However, he underscored that NATO’s rules bind the alliance to defend all its members equally. “Have no doubt about that,” he added.

Later, Rasmussen told reporters in Vilnius: “I understand very well the concerns in the Baltic countries.” (photo: AFP)