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    NATO DOESN'T NEED TO EXPAND TO FIGHT TERRORISM, SAYS RUSSIA'S DEFENCE MINISTER

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    NORFOLK, VA, USA, APRIL 5, (RIA NOVOSTI) - The Russia-NATO Council has organised an international conference now underway in Norfolk, Virginia, on the military's role in fighting terrorism. Sergei Ivanov, Russia's Defence Minister, is attending.

    NATO expansion was among principal topics of his address to the conferees. It did not come as even a slight surprise, he remarked.

    "The Russian attitude to it is complacent though disapproving as far as NATO northwestward expansion is concerned, with which the [post-Soviet] Baltics-Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia-joined the alliance alongside another four countries-Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Romania, which April 2 made full-fledged NATO members.

    "We [Russians] don't see whatever connection of an emergent new NATO infrastructure with such priorities of Russian-NATO partnership as the anti-terror cause and efforts against mass destruction weapon proliferation," the minister emphasised.

    As he was answering reporters' questions, Mr. Ivanov spoke up for adequate retaliation of the terrorist threats. "What I have in mind are instances of disproportionate retaliation-in particular, the use of U2 reconnaissance planes or Awacs and war aircraft to prevent a terror act on which we do not know even just when and where it may come. Such action breeds public apprehensions: when planes are in the air, it means war may break off in a day or two," he explained.

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