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    RUSSIA-BELARUS: SECURITY COUNCILS TO JOIN HANDS AS NATO EXPANDS

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    MINSK, JANUARY 30 (RIA Novosti correspondents Elena Ivanova and Olesya Luchaninova) - NATO is expanding, and may eventually arrange its military bases and station armed contingents in its new member countries-Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and the post-Soviet Baltics. The situation demands closer activity coordination of the Russian and Belarussian Security Councils in national and regional interests, said Gennadi Nevyglas, State Secretary of Belarus' national Security Council.

    He made the teamwork call today while meeting at the negotiation table with Vladimir Rushailo, Secretary of Russia's Security Council.

    Belarus and Russia have agreed to offer the matter together for debate to the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, so that its member countries-Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan-could form shared stances on the developments, added Mr. Nevyglas.

    The two Security Councils intend to meet in consultations for a shared stance on the agenda of the nearest Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council summit, due in Istanbul, June next.

    A Russo-Belarussian treaty has been drafted almost fully, concerning the outer frontier of the bilateral union, and border guard. The treaty is expected for signing within the first half-year, announced Gennadi Nevyglas.

    The two national Security Councils are able to speed up transition from coordinated stances of the two countries to foreign policy coordination, pointed out Vladimir Rushailo, in his turn. Further rapprochement with the European Union is a must, just as the emergence of an all-European united economic environment. In that, Russia and Belarus are to work for their national interests in all spheres, particularly in the context of an upcoming EU expansion, he said.

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