22:40 GMT +324 September 2018
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    MOSCOW, April 8 (RIA Novosti) - Lyubov Sliska, First Vice Speaker of the State Duma (lower house of parliament) has called on the NATO leadership to have its new members join the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty. Otherwise, the accord may turn into a mere formality, she warned.

    Sliska met today with NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, currently visiting Moscow. She pointed out at the meeting that the CFE plays an important political role, maintaining regional balances and bridging the United States with Europe and Russia with NATO.

    The treaty serves as the negotiation ground for discussing key issues of security and stability in Europe, the Duma Vice Speaker pointed out.

    She stressed the need for urgent measures to stabilize the situation in the Serbian province of Kosovo. "In our view, it is necessary to urgently elaborate a set of measures aimed at curbing extremism and alleviating the aftermath of anti-Serb ethnic cleansing and of the destruction of Orthodox Christian shrines," she said, adding that NATO would not solve the problem just by sending in reinforcements.

    Sliska also underlined the need to destroy the infrastructure of Albanian militants in Kosovo and to hunt down and bring to justice all those who had orchestrated the recent slaughter in that Serbian province.

    As Sliska sees it, Kosovo's interim government should abstain from using force. It is paramount that local authorities come to fully realize their responsibility for stability in Kosovo and create conditions for peaceful co-existence of the province's ethnic communities, she pointed out.

    The U.S. Administration's plans to reconfigure its military presence in Europe, including near Russian borders, requires close attention, as the implementation of these plans will inevitably affect Russia's security interests, Sliska said. Hopefully, the U.S. will not make decisions on issues of mutual concern without prior consultations with Russia, including within the NATO-Russia Council, the Duma Vice Speaker said. According to her, that will help sustain a favorable political climate on both sides of the Atlantic.

    NATO Secretary-General Scheffer said his meeting with Duma MPs had been a satisfying one. "It was very important to us to meet people who represent the Russian nation," he told reporters at a subsequent press conference. Mr. Scheffer reiterated his organization's willingness to further partnership with Russia. He promised that he would soon come back to Moscow for a new round of talks on cooperation issues.

    Members of the Duma committees for international affairs, defense, and security also took part in today's meeting with the NATO Secretary General.

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