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    Contacts between Russian and U.S. parliamentarians go pragmatic

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    MOSCOW, June 3 (RIA Novosti) - Interaction between Russian and the United States parliamentarians is shifting to a more pragmatic and professional level, believes chairman Mikhail Margelov of the international affairs committee of the Federation Council (upper chamber of Russian parliament).

    On Thursday he told RIA Novosti that he liked that following the work of the group for cooperation between the Federation Council and the American Senate, closer interaction has begun between the State Duma (low chamber of parliament) and the American Congress.

    "The Federation Council has long been holding such consultations. Now that the lower chambers of our parliaments are adopting this experience, a real breakthrough in Russian-American relations, both interparliamentary and bilateral in general, can be talked of," Margelov said.

    He stressed that, at their first joint sitting, Duma deputies and American congressmen supported the statement adopted at the latest contact between the Russian and American upper parliamentary chambers.

    "What is specially important, they focused on supporting the appeal to the G8 leaders for including questions of the struggle against illegal drug traffic on the agenda of the 2006 summit," Margelov said.

    He voiced the hope that such relations would become a regular practice and in the future bilateral consultations between the upper and lower chambers of the parliaments of Russia and the United States will bring closer their positions on many key questions.

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