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    RUSSIA'S DEFENCE MINISTER BACK FROM USA

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    MOSCOW, APRIL 7, RIA NOVOSTI - Sergei Ivanov, Russia's Minister of Defence, has finished an official visit to the USA. His plane landed in the Chkalovsky airfield near Moscow this afternoon.

    The visit included conferences and negotiations on the US and NATO top, the minister said to newsmen as the liner stopped in Oslo for technical reasons.

    Mr. Ivanov started his sojourn in the USA with bilateral conferences with Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, NATO Secretary General, April 4. The next day, the minister attended a third international conference on the military's role in the anti-terror cause, which was convened under the aegis on the Russia-NATO Council.

    Sergei Ivanov visited the USA's largest naval base in Norfolk, Virginia, and the "Enterprise", a first-ever nuclear aircraft carrier of the US Navy. While in Norfolk, he held negotiations at the HQ of the NATO Strategic Command for Transformation to discuss a reform of allied troops control. In particular, NATO intends to introduce a united command of rapid deployment forces, which include landed troops, aviation and navy.

    Sergei Ivanov and Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defence, had an eye-to-eye supper at Norfolk's Harborclub restaurant.

    Mr. Ivanov flew to Washington, D.C., in the morning April 6 for bilateral negotiations with Colin Powell, US Secretary of State. He had eye-to-eye talks with Condoleezza Rice, US National Security Adviser, and Donald Rumsfeld. The agenda focussed on security and progress of Russian-US partnership, the minister said to the media.

    As the official part of his sojourn was over, Mr. Ivanov addressed Russian and other countries' journalists and political experts at the Defence Information Centre, after which he took his plane to Moscow.

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