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    RUSSIA'S FOREIGN MINISTRY: NO BARGAINING BETWEEN RUSSIA AND USA IN POST-SOVIET SPACE

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    MOSCOW, January 23, 2004. /RIA Novosti/ -- There cannot be any bargaining between Russia and the USA in the post-Soviet space, said a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry.

    According to him, the situation in the CIS' space will be discussed at the forthcoming talks between Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and US Secretary of State Colin Powell in Moscow on January 26.

    "There cannot be any bargaining here. The former Soviet Union's space is the area of our strategic interests. We have a stake in a 'belt of good-neighborliness' on our borders", the source said.

    According to him, the USA is also aware of this. "Russia exerts stabilizing influence on the situation in the CIS, and the USA understands that there is nothing bad in this", the source in the Russian Foreign Ministry noted.

    At the same time the USA is interested in expanding its presence in the post-Soviet space, the source added.

    "If this serves the interests of stability there is nothing blameworthy in this. We do not in the least believe that the CIS' space must be a field of competition with the USA", the source emphasized.

    According to him, both Moscow and Washington are interested in stability and prosperity of the region.

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