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    NATO-RUSSIA: UPCOMING MILITARY PRESENCE AGREEMENT DOES NOT THREATEN RUSSIAN SOVEREIGNTY, SAYS MP

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    MOSCOW, APRIL 5, RIA NOVOSTI - A forthcoming Russia-NATO agreement, to authorise reciprocal military presence, by no means threatens Russian sovereignty, reassures prominent parliamentarian Konstantin Kosachev.

    "Whatever speculations on the point are legally ungrounded, and have no facts to bear them out," he said by way of comment on a statement by Sergei Ivanov, Russia's Defence Minister, on prospects to sign the agreement, On the Status of Forces.

    The agreement repeats the pattern of documents NATO has concluded with a majority of countries with which it has routine contacts. Many CIS countries are no exception. When signed, the agreement will certainly bring Russia sizeable benefits, though it is by no means unique and will make no breakthrough.

    This year's schedule of Russia-NATO partnerly action envisages close on a hundred practical events, twenty of these to base in Russia. The agreement will thus regulate numerous technical aspects of Armed Forces' teamwork in joint war games, peacekeeping and anti-terror action. When signed, the agreement will not offer whatever grounds for uncoordinated action by NATO military units in Russia, emphasised the MP.

    Konstantin Kosachev heads the international affairs committee of the State Duma, parliament's lower house.

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