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    DUMA FOREIGN COMMITTEE HEAD NOTES RUSSIA'S SHRINKING ROLE IN ANTI-TERRORIST COALITION

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    MOSCOW, February 10, RIA Novosti correspondent - The new Duma is urgently considering a number of documents pertaining to Russia's foreign affairs, its Foreign Committee Chairman Konstantin Kosachev reports.

    According to him, on February 18, the Duma members will look at the agreement to set up a regional anti-terrorist organization within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The SCO members include Russia, China and the four Central-Asian republics of the former USSR. "Five of the six SCO member countries have already ratified such agreements, while Russia is lagging behind," Kosachev said.

    The committee head mentioned another "serious problem" - the updated Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE), which was drawn up at the 1999 Istanbul summit of the OSCE, but has not been ratified by either Russia or NATO to this day.

    "If this treaty isn't ratified, the situation will be dangerous for Russia," Kosachev went on to say. "The four nations which seek NATO entry (the Baltic countries and Slovenia) are not committed to any qualitative or quantitative limitations on their weapons," he emphasized.

    According to him, "NATO, theoretically, can deploy any quantity of forces and hardware in those countries." In this connection Kosachev called for establishing a dialog with the US as soon as possible.

    Kosachev also mentioned a shrinking trend of Russia's role as partner in the joint anti-terrorist effort.

    "I attended the Munich security conference, and I got the unexpected impression that, judging by the form and tone of the discussion, NATO and EU no longer regard Russia as a key partner in solving terrorism problems." It is an alarming trend, he concluded.

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