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    RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY PRIORITIES FOR 2005 INCLUDE CIS, US, EU, CHINA AND INDIA

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    MOSCOW, December 28 (RIA Novosti) - The improvement of CIS mechanisms, cooperation with the US and the EU, and development of relations with China and India are the key priorities of the Russian Foreign Ministry in 2005.

    According to the ministry's Department of Information and the Press, it will continue to spotlight issues of national security and the creation of maximally favorable external conditions for its socio-economic development.

    "Our main priority remains the development of relations with the CIS countries," said the ministry spokesman. "In 2005, Russia will hold the rotating chair in the CIS and will energetically work to improve the mechanisms of the CIS and other integration structures - the SCO, the CES, the CSTO, EurAsEc, and CAC. We will make a constructive contribution to conflict settlement in the former Soviet states within current international organizations."

    Russia is ready to continue strengthening relations of partnership with the USA, primarily in the struggle against terrorism. The European task of the ministry's policy is to finish the joint project of roadmaps for the four common spaces - economy, internal and external security, education, science and culture.

    Besides, Russia plans to develop cooperation with China, India and the member states of APEC, ASEAN and other integration organizations of Asia Pacific. The ministry spokesman recalled that the first Russia-ASEAN summit would be held in 2005. "The spotlight will be on the use of new possibilities for building up economic cooperation with the countries of Asia Pacific, Latin America and Africa," he said.

    Russia also intends to take an active part in the collective efforts to the reform the UN with due regard for the recommendations of the Council of Wise Men (16 respected politicians from different countries." "Our ultimate goal is to facilitate the creation of a safer and more stable system of international relations, that would be better suited to the interests of Russia's equal involvement in global politics and economy and the tasks of collective solution of international problems," said the Russian Foreign Ministry.

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