Russia agrees to let German arms be transported across its territory

'An agreement to allow German military equipment and personnel to be transported across Russian territory is Russia's contribution to strengthening the role of the UN and cooperating with NATO,' Russian President Vladimir Putin announced at a press conference after German-Russian intergovernmental negotiations in Yekaterinburg. According to the president's press office, he stressed that 'countries face many common threats and so they must cooperate as much as possible in order to confront them. This agreement is another Russian contribution to strengthening the UN's role in Afghanistan. '

Mr Putin also called on the UN to pass a resolution on Iraq as soon as possible, adding that he had discussed the Iraq question with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and the two countries' approaches to the problem had remained practically unchanged.

Many other issues were dealt with at the press conference including oil extraction and transportation, the introduction of simpler visa regulations with the EU and Russian-German cultural interaction. The Russian president said they had decided to create a joint working group on anti-terrorism, the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and anti-drug trafficking. Mr Putin has met Mr Schroeder at least 20 times for various reasons since 2000. This close contact between them reflects the dynamism of Russian-German cooperation, he said.

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