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Russia: Ivanov Joins NATO Talks In Warsaw

Warsaw, 25 September 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Russia today joined NATO defense ministers in Warsaw on the second and final day of talks in Warsaw on international terrorism and the crisis over Iraq. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov joined the talks to represent Moscow in its new role as a partner to NATO's 19 member nations.

NATO Secretary-General George Robertson said "substantial achievements" have been made since the new partnership agreement was signed in May. He said cooperation is off to "a good start."

East of Moscow, Russia and NATO today started joint military exercises on dealing with terrorist attacks. Special rescue teams, involving some 1,200 personnel and observers from more than 30 countries, are practicing rescue operations in case of chemical, biological, and radioactive contamination.

In a further sign of warming relations, the Russian Foreign Ministry today proposed more talks with the United States on missile defense and strategic offensive arms reduction. The ministry said the talks could take place in Moscow late next month or early November.