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15 April 2004

NATO and Russia Enhance Military Cooperation

Agreements signed during Moscow visit of NATO chief de Hoop Scheffer

NATO and Russia signed agreements recently to create a Russian Military Liaison Office at the NATO Operational Command in Mons, Belgium, and the NATO Transformation Command in Norfolk, Virginia.

The cooperative agreements were signed during NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer's April 7-8 visit to Moscow. Also during the visit, de Hoop Scheffer said the recent addition of seven new NATO members is not aimed against Russia and that the Alliance wants to cooperate with Russia to address global threats.

Following is a NATO press release:

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NATO Update
14-Apr-2004

NATO AND RUSSIA ENHANCE MILITARY COOPERATION

During a visit to Moscow on 7 and 8 April NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer signed agreements establishing Russian military liaison offices at NATO's top military headquarters.

Mr. de Hoop Scheffer and Russian Defence Minister Ivanov exchanged letters creating a Russian Military Liaison Office at NATO's Operational Command in Mons, Belgium, and the Transformation Command in Norfolk, United States.

Under the agreements, NATO's existing Military Liaison Mission in Moscow will also be strengthened with additional personnel.

Enlargement not a threat to Russia

During the two-day visit, the Secretary General met with President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov, Secretary of State of the Security Council Igor Ivanov, as well as members of the Duma, the Russian Parliament.

The key issues discussed included NATO-Russia relations, cooperation in the fight against terrorism and curbing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Mr. de Hoop Scheffer also reiterated that NATO's recent eastward enlargement was not aimed against the Russian Federation.

"I consider it my job, my responsibility, to convince (Russians) that NATO has no ulterior motives. NATO wants to co-operate. NATO needs Russia and Russia needs NATO," the Secretary General said in an interview on Moscow radio. "We live in a dangerous world and we can only solve these problems together."

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(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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