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    MOSCOW DOES NOT MAKE DRAMA OUT OF KIEV'S MEMO OF ASSISTANCE TO NATO

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    KIEV, April 13 (RIA Novosti) - The fact that Ukraine has adopted a memorandum of assistance to NATO will hardly affect its bilateral relations with Russia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a press conference on Tuesday.

    "Episodes can hardly influence the course of bilateral relations," said Mr. Lavrov.

    Russian-Ukrainian talks on security and stability in Europe touched on relations between Russia and NATO and between Ukraine and NATO, and the two countries' relationships with the European Union, according to Mr. Lavrov.

    "We agreed that each of us would address these issues in a transparent manner and update each other on the process by holding relevant consultations," said the foreign minister.

    Ukrainian Foreign Minister Konstantin Grishchenko, for his part, said the memorandum was not worthy of heated discussions.

    Ministers understand that although the two countries take similar approaches to many key issues, they may differ on certain matters, and there is nothing tragic about this, according to Mr. Grishchenko.

    "My strong belief is that we must respect other countries' approaches, which do not coincide with ours. We expect other countries to take a similar attitude to Ukraine," said Mr. Grishchenko.

    According to Mr. Grishchenko, the memo deals with the technical issues related to NATO contingents' airlifts to Ukraine for joint exercises.

    "We expect Russia to continue participating in such exercises," said the minister.

    "In that event, the exercises will be important for fulfilling bilateral objectives," said Mr. Grishchenko.

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