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    MOSCOW, January 23rd, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent) - Russia is concerned over the US Defence Department's proposed plans to change the targets of the programme to train Georgian experts, a source in the Russian defence ministry told RIA Novosti.

    According to the source, this issue will be highlighted during the talks between Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and US Secretary of State Colin Powell due on January 26 in Moscow.

    US diplomats mentioned that the training programme for the Georgian military would be continued and possibly reviewed, the source said.

    "If there is such talk, we would like to know about the motivation and make sure that the targets of the programme will remain anti-terrorist, and include above all the fight against the source of the terrorist danger emanating from the Pankisi Gorge," the source said.

    "If the programme pursues other goals, security of pipelines, for instance, this will cause our concern," stressed the source.

    In his words, the US side earlier claimed that security at pipelines might become one of the aims of its presence in Georgia.

    The source continued that when US reconnaissance aircraft were conducting flights over Georgia close to the Russian border, they allegedly were tracking down Chechen terrorists too.

    "It is absolutely clear that this was not the best technological solution, and it caused our serious concern," the source in the Russian foreign ministry said. This is a very delicate sphere, and it should involve no decisions that could be detrimental to the sides' relationship.

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