Russia's Defence Minister, British Foreign Secretary On Russian-British Contacts

Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov and Britain's Foreign Secretary Jack Straw have given a high assessment of the intensity of Russian-British contacts at all levels in the current complicated international situation. Russia's Defence Minister, when opening the meeting with the British foreign secretary on Wednesday, emphasised that a phrase about dynamic development of Russian-British relations is becoming a cliche, and this is indeed so. Ivanov stressed that the dialogue is pursued on all matters and above all on international security and terrorism. The Defence Ministry, he noted, is now fully concerned with "non-proliferation issues," maintaining contacts with all British departments, above all lawenforcement ones. Straw emphasised that foundation for dynamic relations between Russia and Britain was laid by the heads of the two countries, especially after Vladimir Putin was elected Russia's president". According to Straw, new meetings between Russian President Vladimir Putin and the British prime minister are expected in the near future in London. He invited the defence and foreign ministers to join in the discussion of topical issues. In Straw's opinion, broad representation is very important, since discussions will concentrate on the struggle against terrorism, Taliban groupings, and such extremist organisations as Al-Qaeda and, most important, the strategic consequences of this situation.

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