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    RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER BELIEVES ARMAMENT CONTROL WEAKENING LOSS FOR NATO

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    MUNICH, February 7 (RIA Novosti corr. Alexei Berezin) - The weakening of the control regime over conventional weapons in Europe is a great loss for the North Atlantic alliance, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Saturday at the 40th Munich conference on issues of security. He delivered a report called "Issues of international security in the context of Russia-NATO relations."

    "I'll be extremely frank - the weakening of the regime of control over conventional armaments in Europe does not meet the interests of Russia's national security, but is not an irreparable loss for it. We have enough means and ways to guarantee our interests, our security; as for the North Atlantic alliance, and for international security, this is a huge loss," said Ivanov.

    He emphasized that "safety" mechanisms of maintaining stability and international security in the form of various control modes over weapons will never be redundant for the international community.

    "In these conditions, I can say it straight - instead of continuing to directly press on Russia with the aim to make it speed up the fulfillment of the Istanbul agreements, it seems necessary to start a wide discussion of the possibility to establish a new system of control over the weapons and build confidence measures that would proceed from new realities. And the mechanism of Russia-NATO partnership is an adequate tool to prepare the mandate of future negotiations and work out framework approaches to the new system," the Russian defense minister emphasized.

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