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Clinton pushes NATO allies for united strategy on Afghanistan

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Clinton said, however, that "[we] should continue to open NATO's door to European countries such as Georgia and Ukraine and help them meet NATO standards."

A "fresh start" with Russia moves the US closer to the pragmatic position of Europe's heavyweight, Germany, where the question – as described by Ulrike Guérot, of the European Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin – is: "What is the place of Russia in Europe? Which is tied to the question, 'Which way is Russia going?'"

Allies advocated strengthening a NATO-Russia council, which NATO chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told reporters is "not a fair weather body" – and should be used to discuss "everything," including Russian troops considered to be illegally deployed in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

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