Russia-US preparatory talks for the US President's visit to Russia began in Moscow yesterday. As a Rosbalt reporter was informed at the Department of Information and Press of the Foreign Ministry, the talks will last until February 19. The Russian delegation is led by Georgy Mamedov, the Deputy Foreign Minister, the American is headed by the Deputy Secretary of State John Bolton. Russia intends to raise the issue of the US's attempts to minimise the effect of irreversibility in strategic disarmament. A special working group consisting of the representatives of the US Senate and the Russian Federation Council will prepare a special report for the two Presidents' meeting in Moscow, one of its main issues being legal hindrances in both countries that stall further progress in bilateral relations. Senator Mr. Margellov, commenting yesterday on the preparations to the visit, said that both countries need to present their views on what exactly in their legislations hamperes further relations. The reports are expected to be delivered to the Presidents during Mr. Bush's visit to Moscow in May 23-25.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the termination of diplomatic relations with NATO at a time when US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ended a meeting in Georgia with his counterpart