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Minister Denies Russia Blocked OSCE Final Declaration

Sergei Lavrov (file photo) (AFP) 8 December 2005 -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov today dismissed allegations that his country prevented this week's OSCE annual conference from adopting a final document on nongovernmental organizations.

Addressing reporters in Brussels where he attended a NATO-Russia summit, Lavrov blamed other countries -- which he did not name -- for refusing to endorse the draft. He said Russia was ready to accept the final report without changes and that it had told so the OSCE chairman in office, Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel.

Western reporters attending the OSCE ministerial council on 6 December quoted participants as saying Moscow had rejected the wording of the summit final draft declaration and objected to several other issues, including a demand that it withdraw its troops from Moldova and Georgia as soon as possible.

In Brussels today, NATO foreign ministers again urged Russia to complete its military pullout from Moldova's breakaway Transdniester region. Russia has some 1,500 troops in Transdniester.

NATO said that Russia must implement its commitments under the 1999 adapted Convention Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty, which called for Russia to withdraw forces from both Moldova and Georgia.