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    RUSSIAN MP CALLS ON EU FOR CLOSER COOPERATION WITH RUSSIA AGAINST TERRORISM

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    MOSCOW, March 19, 2004 (RIA Novosti) - Mikhail Margelov, chief of the international affairs committee of the Russian Federation Council (parliament's upper chamber), believes the European Union should step up cooperation with Russia against terrorism. Mr Margelov said this at a press conference on Friday.

    "I do not see why Russia and the EU could not join efforts against terrorism," he said.

    Mr Margelov recalled that the EU planned to set up a body to co-ordinate efforts against international terrorism and relative information exchanges. "Europe should study Russia's and the USA's experience in this sphere," said Mr Margelov.

    The EU's body should be similar to the international anti-terrorism coalition, suggested the senator.

    The main reason behind recent differences between Russia and the EU is that the latter has only begun to form the pan-European foreign policy, according to Mr Margelov. The EU is enlarging and will soon comprise a total of 25 states. Brussels has not, therefore, defined its foreign policy, believes the MP.

    Mr Margelov compared current relations between Russia and the EU to tennis. "Russia wants unhampered transits via Lithuania (to its westernmost Kaliningrad enclave), while Europe says the EU-Russia (Partnership and Cooperation) Agreement shall be extended to the 10 new member-countries. Russia seeks to boost energy resources exports, Europe responds with recommendations on how to restructure Gazprom. Russia wants to join the WTO and encounters rhetoric about imperfect democratic institutes in Russia. This resembles tennis very much," said Mr Margelov.

    Russia and the EU cannot afford to be in disagreement, emphasised the MP. He said that economic differences need to be settled, however, "without detriment to Russia, like the extension of the Russia-EU agreement onto the 10 new members."

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