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    Russia links its cooperation with NATO to bloc's reform

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    Russia's foreign minister said Tuesday the country will be building its cooperation with NATO with an eye to the trans-Atlantic alliance's internal reforms.

    MOSCOW, June 26 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's foreign minister said Tuesday the country will be building its cooperation with NATO with an eye to the trans-Atlantic alliance's internal reforms.

    "The parameters of the cooperation will depend on which way NATO transformation goes," Sergei Lavrov said at the opening of a Russia-NATO Council session in Moscow, which is being attended by NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

    Lavrov said Russia would use the event to make clear its concerns to the bloc, including ones related to the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) and the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaties, as well as to the final status of the Serbian province of Kosovo.

    "CFE- and ABM-related issues affect key aspects of security," he said. "Approaches to solving these issues should handle mutual security concerns with care."

    "We value the Russia-NATO Council format, which enables [us] to discuss all [controversial] issues openly," said Lavrov.

    De Hoop Scheffer said he expected the alliance and Russia to further expand their cooperation against drug trafficking in Afghanistan and to overcome differences on the CFE, missile defense and Kosovo.

    Russia is strongly opposed to the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system in Central Europe and has declared a moratorium on its compliance with the adapted CFE treaty to protest the reluctance of NATO countries to ratify it.

    The 1990 conventional armaments control treaty between the trans-Atlantic alliance and the former Warsaw Pact was updated in 1999 to reflect the realities of the post-Cold War era, but only Russia and several other signatories have ratified it so far.

    Moscow also objects to giving sovereignty to Kosovo, arguing that the move would violate Serbia's territorial integrity and set a dangerous international precedent for other breakaway regions, including in the former Soviet Union.

    It has threatened to use its veto power on the UN Security Council to block UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari's plan granting "supervised independence" status to Serbia's predominantly ethnic Albanian province.

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