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    NEW NATO MEMBERS TO JOIN CFE TREATY

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    MOSCOW, April 5, 2004 (RIA Novosti) - NATO has asserted Moscow that the four new NATO members would join the CFE Treaty.

    "The NATO secretary general has confirmed that CFE Treaty non-parties will join the treaty after it takes effect. Foreign ministers of each of the four countries (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia) have stated this clearly and unambiguously," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a conference between the president and the cabinet.

    The minister remarked that the first Russia-NATO meeting in an extended format attended by the seven newcomers had been held in Brussels.

    "The important task we were faced with was to provide for the development of partnership between Russia and NATO, causing no damage to our interests," said the Russian foreign minister.

    "The first specific result is that the CFE Treaty has been unanimously confirmed as the cornerstone of European security, and four of the seven new NATO members have committed themselves to joining it as soon as it [the treaty] takes effect and is ratified by the rest of the members," said Mr. Lavrov.

    "NATO and its secretary general have confirmed that the rule of military containment is now valid for all the newcomers. This is a crucial political and legal decision," said the Russian foreign minister.

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