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    RUSSIA'S AMBASSADOR TO CANADA SAYS NEW CANADIAN GOVERNMENT WILL NOT ALTER APPROACH TO INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

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    MOSCOW, April 6, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Ambassador to Canada Georgy Mamedov said in an interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta that no significant changes in Canada's approaches to international relations occurred after the change in Government in Canada. The interview was also published on the Foreign Ministry's Web site on Tuesday.

    "I have been in Canada as Russia's new ambassador for half a year already," Mr. Mamedov said, "and can personally testify to the very intensive and positive development of our dialogue at all levels. It is with this positive dynamics, with a desire not only to preserve but also to multiply it, that the prime minister was replaced in Canada."

    "Such dramatic developments as the tragedy in Iraq have shown once again that allegiance to the universal principles of international law, multilateral diplomacy, cooperation, and very cautious attitude to the use of armed force unites us," he said.

    "We like the new Canadian prime minister's idea to strengthen NATO and Russia. In this group Russia is a bridge between the most developed and developing countries," the ambassador said.

    Mr. Mamedov noted that Ottawa's attitude to the U.S. plans to deploy a strategic ABM systems was that the period when Canada was squeezed between acutely confronting Russia and the United States is gone and would never return. In his opinion, Canada can help destroy surplus nuclear weapons, and cooperate in the sphere of non-destabilizing missile defense systems. "I hope that the Canadians will attentively consider all the pros and cons, and opt for the optimum decision," Mr. Mamedov stressed.

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