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    RUSSIA EXTREMELY INTERESTED IN CONVENTIONAL ARMED FORCES IN EUROPE TREATY TO COME INTO FORCE

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    PARIS, MARCH 5. /RIA NOVOSTI / -- The Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty is the basis for security on the continent and Russia is "extremely interested" in its coming into force, Russian acting Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov said in Paris on Friday after talks with the French defence and foreign ministers. Russian acting Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov also took part.

    Sergei Ivanov said that over the last ten years the number of Russian servicemen has been more than halved and Russia is having no troops on its borders. It is in everybody's interests for the treaty, limiting the military equipment, arms and troops numbers from the Atlantic to the Urals, to be preserved and becoming effective, the minister stressed.

    The problem is that the series of states joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation are not signatories of the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty.

    Sergei Ivanov drew attention to some people artificially linking the conclusion of the treaty with the Istanbul agreements on Russia's military presence in Georgia and the Transdnestria.

    "We will continue talks in a bid to find, above all, political solutions", the minister said.

    In the Transdnestria 1,500 Russian servicemen are on the round-the-clock basis guarding depots with Russian arms and ammunition, whose withdrawal has been blocked since last December by the leadership of that self-proclaimed republic of Moldova.

    Russia will go on doing minute work on this problem, assured the minister.

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