Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the Security Council at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow April 18, 2014. REUTERS/Alexei Druzhinin/RIA Novosti/Kremlin
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Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed NATO's selection of former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg as its new head, saying Saturday that the pair had "very good relations" but that it was up to the West to improve ties.In an interview with the state-run Rossiya television station, to be broadcast later Saturday, Putin indicated that the appointment of Stoltenberg, who takes over in October, could help ties."But let's see how he will develop relations in his new capacity," he said in the interview, for the Russian news show Vesti Saturday with Sergei Brilyov.In a sign of his strained ties with current NATO head Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Putin repeated an accusation that the former Danish prime minister had secretly taped and leaked a private conversation between them, a charge Rasmussen has denied.Putin said there was no reason why relations between Russia and the West can not improve, but that it was up to the West to make that happen.Putin did not name any specific measures that the West should take.
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