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Senior NATO Official Conferred Recently With Russian General Staff Chief

Russian General Staff Chief Valery Gerasimov (R) confers with Russian President Vladimir Putin

The head of NATO's military committee recently held a telephone call with the chief of the Russian general staff, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on March 22.

Stoltenberg said Petr Pavel, who heads NATO's military committee, spoke by phone with the chief of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov.

Pavel said last month he hoped to hold the first telephone call in more than two years with Russia's military chiefs in coming weeks.

"When tensions are high it's even more important that we talk together and that we have open lines of military and political communications," Stoltenberg told Reuters on the sidelines of a meeting to discuss the fight against Islamic State in Washington.

The Russian Defense Ministry said the Pavel and Gerasimov discussed security, the prospects of restoring military interaction, the prevention of incidents, and the participation of the alliance's representatives in events held by Russia's Defense Ministry.

"The sides confirmed the need of mutual steps aimed at reducingtension and stabilizing the situation in Europe," and agreed to continue such contacts, the ministry said.

Based on reporting by Reuters and TASS