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    MOSCOW, April 7, 2004 (RIA Novosti) - Russia joined the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) 14 years ago, said Vladimir Borshchov, press secretary of the Interpol national central office at the Russian interior ministry.

    "On April 7, the Council of Ministers of the USSR passed a resolution on the USSR's accession to the International Criminal Police Organization, Interpol, and it was admitted to the organization at the 59th session of the Interpol General Assembly in Ottawa," said Mr Borshchov.

    The Russian Interpol office, which is part of the interior ministry's structure, opened on January 1, 1991. The Interpol office of the Russian Federation became the legal successor to the Soviet Union's Interpol office after the collapse of the USSR.

    The Russian office's status is defined by the presidential decree dated July 30, 1996. The document says that Russia's Interpol office is the Russian interior ministry's department, which promotes cooperation between Russia's law-enforcement and other state agencies with their counterparts from the Interpol member-countries and the Interpol Secretariat General.

    The Russian government elaborated on the office's status. In a relevant resolution the government said Russia's Interpol office is a criminal police department within the interior ministry's central staff.

    The same government resolution outlined the office's objectives as follows: to ensure effective information exchanges on criminal offenses; provide assistance in meeting inquiries from international law enforcement organizations and foreign law enforcement bodies in accordance with relevant international agreements; to oversee the implementation of international agreements on fighting crime, which Russia is a signatory to.

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