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    RUSSIAN RESCUE TEAMS TO SPREAD THEIR OPERATION TO THE WHOLE WORLD IN 2004

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    MOSCOW, January 6, 2003. (RIA Novosti correspondent Grigory Dubovitsky). The priority spheres of international operation of the Russian Emergencies Ministry in 2004 will be co-operation with the EU, India, China, the Baltic countries, and members of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) of Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, China, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, deputy Emergencies Minister Yuri Brazhnikov said today.

    "The EU structures is analysing the Russian initiative of creating a European Centre of Catastrophes," he said. "As of now, the technologies of the Emergencies Ministry can be incorporated into European security programmes."

    One of the first practical co-operative steps of the ministry and the EU structures will be the establishment of a direct communication channel for notification about major accidents and catastrophes.

    The deputy minister said about Russia-SCO co-operation that the role of the ministry in the development of an international warning and liquidation of emergencies had grown in the past year. "In 2004 we plan to sign intergovernmental agreements with China and India and are drafting co-operation documents with Japan, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania," said Brazhnikov.

    The Emergencies Ministry of Russia has co-operation agreements with over 50 countries and international organisations.

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