The Russian Federation continues to aspire for strategic partnership with the European Union, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said, while delivering a report at the royal military institute in Brussels on December 19. Ivanov's report dealt with Russia and European security. According to Ivanov, important bilateral documents were coordinated during Russia-EU summits. These documents stipulate expanded dialogue and cooperation between Russia and the European Union. Russia is closely following the development of the EU's defense dimension, which aims to create a potential in the field of joint defense, with positive interest. The Russian Defense Minister also voiced confidence to the effect that Russia and the EU could interact for the sake of enhancing international peace, security and stability, also doing their best to prevent conflicts and to create an early-warning crisis-prevention system. Ivanov perceives at least four mutually-advantageous aspects of Russia-EU relations. First of all, their list includes dialogue for the sake of coordinating positions on conceptual European-security issues of principled importance (including strategic stability and Europe's security policies). Apart from that, the sides could jointly search for the relevant potential of interaction in practical spheres (such as specific international issues, projected military-technological and military-economic cooperation), also implementing that potential together. Moreover, they can jointly plan future European peace-keeping operations, which might involve Russia. And, finally, Russia and the EU can expand their cooperation dealing with military aspects of crisis-settlement programs, all the more so as the EU now attaches greater priority to such aspects, Ivanov noted.
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