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    BRUSSELS, January 5th, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent Alexander Shishlo) - Nato will boost relations with Russia, Ukraine and other partners, said newly appointed Nato Secretary General Jakob de Hoop Scheffer. He began work on Monday in Nato's HQ in Brussels.

    The new leader of the Alliance also said that his policy would focus on stronger ties with the EU and close relations with other international organisations, in particular the UN and the OSCE. According to Mr Scheffer, these issues will be on the agenda of the upcoming Nato summit in Istanbul.

    Stabilisation in Afghanistan will be a key area of Nato's peace-making activity, the Secretary General said. As for participation in Iraq's postwar restoration, Mr Scheffer promised that Nato would seek to influence the political process in that country.

    The new Secretary General believes that the results of the recent parliamentary elections in Serbia would not affect the activity of international peacekeepers in Bosnia and Nato's mission in Kosovo. Mr Scheffer also promised that the Balkans would be one of his priorities.

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