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    NATO BARS RUSSIA FROM OBSERVING AWACS PLANE FLIGHTS IN LATVIA, ESTONIA

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    MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 20, RIA NOVOSTI - NATO's refusal to let Russian observers be present during AWACS plane flights in Latvia and Estonia is regretful, says the information department of the Russian foreign ministry.

    AWACS plane exhibition flights over the territories of Latvia and Estonia are scheduled for February 23-25 under the Partnership For Peace programme.

    Such events close to the Russian border cannot but have a certain bearing on Russian security and therefore we applied beforehand for Russian observers' participation in such shows, reports the Russian foreign ministry.

    In reply, we were told with reference to the host states that Russian participation was out of the question, says the ministry.

    "This fact can cause only regrets as being contrary to the Fundamental act on relationships, cooperation and mutual security between Russia and NATO," continues the ministry.

    Under this document, the NATO countries pledged to seek higher transparency, predictability and mutual trust. We have every reason to expect NATO's newcomers Latvia and Estonia to share the principles underlying our partnership with the Alliance and to observe the entire complex of Russia-NATO accords in force, concludes the foreign ministry.

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