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    IGOR IVANOV NOTES SPECIAL RELATIONS BETWEEN RUSSIA AND BELARUS

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    MINSK, FEBRUARY 2. /RIA NOVOSTI / -- The holding of permanent consultations between the collegiums of the Russian and Belarussian foreign ministries is an indication of the special character of relations, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said, opening up the third joint sitting of the two foreign ministries' collegiums in Minsk.

    He said that this collegium will consider "the joint European strategy in the context of the expansion of the European Union". In his opinion, this fact /EU expansion/ requires "a special coordination of our foreign policy efforts".

    Most of the sitting will be held behind the closed doors. Before its start, the two foreign ministers held a head-on-head meeting.

    For his part, Belarussian Foreign Minister Sergei Martynov voiced confidence that "results of the collegium will be a major contribution to the development and strengthening of bilateral relations between Russia and Belarus".

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