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    Medvedev stresses importance of new European security deal

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    A new agreement on the European security must lay out criteria for arms control and military force levels, Russia's president said Wednesday.

    EVIAN, October 8 (RIA Novosti) - A new agreement on the European security must lay out criteria for arms control and military force levels, Russia's president said Wednesday.

    "It is reasonable to define basic parameters for control of armaments and reasonable levels of military buildup, as well as a new level of cooperation, new procedures, new mechanisms of interaction in such fields as the nonproliferation of mass destruction weapons, terrorism and drug-trafficking," Dmitry Medvedev told the World Policy Conference in the French town of Evian.

    The president called for a re-evaluation of the efficiency of existing security organizations and structures, in order to judge if they are up to meeting the challenges of the modern world.

    "I emphasize that we do not propose abolishing or even weakening the existing [organizations] - the question is their more harmonious operation on the basis of common regulations," Medvedev said.

    The idea of drawing up a new legally binding European security treaty was initially put forward by Medvedev in June.

    The new agreement, the president said, should also stipulate the inadmissibility of the use of force in international relations.

    "The agreement should contain a precise acknowledgement of the basic principles of security and intergovernmental relations in the Euro-Atlantic region. This should be an adherence to conscientious implementation of international obligations, to the respect of territorial integrity and political independence of countries and all other principles enshrined in the UN Charter," he said.

    Moreover, Medvedev said that the agreement must ensure that "no country or global organization should have exclusive rights on the provision of peace and stability in Europe," adding that "this all applies to Russia as well."

    He said the U.S. response to the September 11 terrorist attacks had increased instability around the world.

    "I will above all focus on the accumulated potential for conflicts [in the world]. I believe it stems from events dating back to seven years ago," Medvedev said. "As the United States sought to cement its global dominance, we lost a historic chance to make global affairs less ideologized and create a truly democratic world order."

    Speaking further on the necessity of the new European security deal, the Russian president said that the recent conflict in the Caucasus proved that current European security structures are weak.

    "Today there is no escaping the fact that neither multilateral diplomacy, nor regional mechanisms, nor the modern European security structure as a whole, were able to prevent Georgia's aggression. Especially clear was the lameness of the so-called NATO-centrism. We must draw conclusions from all this," Medvedev said.

    A number of Russian peacekeepers and a reported 1,600 South Ossetian residents lost their lives in the conflict following Georgia's attack on South Ossetia on August 8 in an attempt to regain control over the republic, which split from Georgia in the early 1990s.

    French President Nicolas Sarkozy told the conference in his turn that Georgia's invasion of South Ossetia was a mistake, qualifying his remark by saying that he considered Russia's response "disproportionate."

    "I believe that the reaction of Russian forces to Georgia's attack was disproportionate... yes, there was a military invasion by Georgia, and it was a mistake," Sarkozy said, adding that "the Georgian crisis became another stumbling block between Europe and Russia."

    The French president said that a new European security deal should be discussed at a session of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and proposed that the organization should convene before the end of 2009 to discuss the matter.

    "OSCE is the only organization that incorporates on an equal basis all the structures involved in Europe's common security," he said. "I propose that the organization should convene in the fall of 2009 to discuss in particular proposals on a new security concept."

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