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    RUSSIA, NATO: PARTNERS IN FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM

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    BRUSSELS, APRIL 2, 2004, RIA NOVOSTI - Russia and NATO both seek to develop bilateral cooperation, specifically in the fight against international terrorism, Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said Friday after the Russia-NATO Council's ministerial session.

    Next week, Scheffer will meet in Norfolk with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov to discuss counter-terrorism cooperation between Russia and the trans-Atlantic alliance. This topic will be also be prominent on the NATO chief's April 7-8 talks in Moscow. "I hope this will advance our cooperation," he said.

    Scheffer described as a positive sign the Russian Foreign Minister's attendance of the accession ceremony Friday when the flags of the seven new member states were hoisted over the NATO headquarters in Brussels. This is an indication that Russia takes NATO's expansion seriously, he said.

    The issues discussed at today's NATO-Russia Council session found their way into a Final Declaration. Apart from cooperation in the fight against terrorism, the participants also discussed developments in the Balkans and called for measures to prevent interethnic violence in Serb province of Kosovo, Scheffer said. According to him, the sides agreed that those new NATO member states that were not yet parties to the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE) should join in as soon as possible.

    Summing up today's talks, Scheffer said that Russia and NATO seemed to see eye to eye on many things and that they now needed to bring their political lines closer together.

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