Ministers Praise Advances in Russian-British Security Cooperation

At a joint press conference in St. Petersburg Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov and British Defence Minister Geoff Hoon praised positive advances in relations between the military leaderships of the two nations. According to Sergei Ivanov, cooperation with Britain on questions of security, including military issues, has already gone beyond the realms of bilateral relations. Regular meetings with the British Defence Minister and contacts in the military sphere have recently taken on a 'systematic character'. According to the Russian Defence Minister, this cooperation has been particularly successful on naval issues. However, Sergei Ivanov does not believe that a completely satisfactory level of contacts has yet been reached. The Russian Defence Minister considers cooperation between land and air forces to be unsatisfactory. Closer cooperation may be aided by the joint military training programme which was discussed by the two ministers during their meeting in St. Petersburg.

During his trip to St Petersburg Mr Hoon was shown round the palace and parks at Peterhoff and the Peter and Paul Fortress by his Russian counterpart. While returning from Peterhoff by boat the two defence ministers discussed topics of mutual interest. Their discussion was conducted partly through interpreters and partly face to face.

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