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    RUSSIA'S DEFENCE MINISTER: MOSCOW IS NOT GOING TO PULL OUT OF ANTI-TERRORIST COALITION

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    WASHINGTON, April 7, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Russia is not going to withdraw from the anti-terrorist coalition with the US, Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov told reporters at the Centre for Defense Information in Washington.

    "Rumours about an early demise of Russian-American cooperation are greatly exaggerated. It is based on a partnership in the anti-terrorist coalition, which was formed on September 11, 2001." "Russia is not going to pull out of this coalition. Nor, I think, is the US," Ivanov added. "This is that basis which is more important than existing tactical differences." "I can say bluntly that for the Russian leadership joint actions with the US within the anti-terrorist coalition are by far more important than differences over the war in Iraq, which concern not the content of moves against Hussein, but the form of such moves," Ivanov said.

    "I can also explain the reason for tactical differences that occur. Russia would like to accept a partnership with the West and, above all, with the US, with open eyes. We, on the other hand, are constantly being told to shut them and not to see unfavourable world trends, which exist notwithstanding," the minister said.

    "We are told not to see how Europe gives red carpet treatment to international terrorists and issues visas to them without demur, while a law-abiding Russian citizen may spend months queuing up to gain access to embassies," the minister said.

    "We are told not to see veterans of Nazi SS units marching in the streets of the Baltic states, not to see the construction of a military infrastructure in NATO countries that border on us and that failed to sign an adjusted Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty. No, such a partnership cannot be," Ivanov stated.

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