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    NATO SECRETARY GENERAL CONGRATULATES RUSSIA'S NEW FOREIGN MINISTER

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    MOSCOW, MARCH 17 (RIA NOVOSTI) - Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, NATO Secretary General, had a telephone talk today with Sergei Lavrov, Russia's new Minister of Foreign Affairs, and congratulated him on the appointment, reports the Ministry of Foreign Affairs press and information department.

    The conferees discussed certain practical aspects of Russia-NATO contacts. A closer NATO-Russia cooperation in the spirit of the Declaration of Rome enhances European stability and security, and the efficiency of international teamwork against the latest common threats and challenges, emphasized the conferees.

    Mr. de Hoop Scheffer informed the Russian minister about a NATO Council session, which gathered in Brussels earlier in the day, he said to the media after the telephone talk.

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