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Russian ministers leave for Paris for bilateral security talks

RIA Novosti

10/03/2008 10:37 MOSCOW, March 10 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's foreign and defense ministers will leave for Paris on Monday to meet with their French counterparts for bilateral security negotiations.

The seventh Franco-Russian Cooperation Council for Security Issues will be held on Tuesday, involving Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner, and Russian and French defense ministers Anatoly Serdyukov and Herve Morin.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin told RIA Novosti: "Cooperation between Russia and France through the United Nations Security Council will be a focus of the talks in Paris, and detailed discussions will be held on European security."

"Key issues including the situation surrounding the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty and missile defense will also be discussed," he said.

Russia imposed in December 2007 a unilateral moratorium on the CFE treaty on arms reduction, but has said it will resume its participation if NATO countries ratify the document.

Missile defense has become a major point of contention between Russia and NATO since the United States announced plans to deploy a missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic.

The talks in Paris are also likely to address possible means of simplifying the visa procedure between Russia and European Union members, with the eventual goal of a visa-free system.

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