Russia to join Bali treaty?

Russia is shortly to initiate the procedure of joining the Bali Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in South East Asia, Russia's Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov told a post-ministerial Russia-ASEAN conference.

Ivanov noted that Moscow views this treaty as a key tool for strengthening peace and security in the region. "Joining it would fully meet the aims and objectives of Russia's foreign policy," Ivanov indicated.

According to him, Moscow sees no political obstacles to such a step. Ivanov pointed out that Russia welcomes ASEAN consent to the Russian proposals to settle legal and procedural matters associated with the joining. As the minister said, Russia is ready "to embark on its internal procedures allowing it to send to the chairman of the ASEAN permanent committee an official request on entry." According to him, Moscow's assumption is that Russia's joining the treaty will mark an important step towards Russia's further integration into regional cooperation structures.

The Bali Treaty is a kind of "code of conduct" for South East Asian nations. It comprises the basic principles on which the states will build their relations - non-interference in internal affairs, respect for sovereignty, and non-use of force.

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