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Russia poses no threat to Europe, says Sarkozy

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2009-02-07

In a speech to the Munich Security Conference, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that Russia had too many internal challenges to face for it to pose a viable military threat to either Europe or the NATO alliance.

AFP - Russia poses no military threat to Europe or the NATO military alliance, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said here Saturday.

   
"Russia today does not constitute a military threat to the European Union and NATO," he said at a major international security conference in Munich, southern Germany.
   
"I don't think that the highest threat facing NATO and the European Union is military aggression from Russia," he said.
   
Sarkozy said that Moscow had "too many internal challenges to confront" to even consider such military aggression.
   
Relations between the EU, NATO and Russia have been deeply strained since Moscow fought a brief war with Georgia in August, and subsequently recognised the breakaway Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
   
Moscow's natural gas price dispute with Ukraine, which severely disrupted supplies in a number of EU nations last month, only exacerbated tensions.

Sarkozy also welcomed on Saturday the deployment of German troops on French soil, describing the move as a historic act.
   
France "would be happy to host on its territory" a German battalion for the first time since invading German forces were forced out at the end of World War II, he told the Munich conference.
   
Sarkozy said the move was a "historic act" but gave no details about the deployment or where it might be based.
   
Hundreds of German troops will be serving in the Franco-German brigade set up in 1989 and which currently has 2,300 French soldiers and 2,800 German forces stationed side-by-side in southwest Germany.
   
German news magazine Der Spiegel reported last month that 500 German soldiers would be stationed in the French border town of Colmar but reports in the French press cited Strasbourg, Metz or Bitche as possible bases.
   
German troops occupied much of France during World War II, and the eastern Alsace-Lorraine region has a patchwork history of annexation and occupation under both countries.
 

Date created : 2009-02-07

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