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Russia ready to cooperate with NATO on Afghan terrorism -- Lavrov

MOSCOW, June 24 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is ready to cooperate with NATO to prevent the threat of terrorism expanding from Afghanistan, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov following a meeting today with NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

Lavrov said Russia was ready to cooperate through the security services of countries that are capable of preventing terrorist activities, as well as by developing cooperation between NATO and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in this sphere.

According to him, Russia and NATO have laid a solid foundation for bilateral cooperation and the preconditions for its development are in place.

Lavrov said the Russia-NATO Council took the central role in European and international security, and in this connection he and the NATO secretary-general had discussed further cooperation.

"We discussed issues concerning the resolution of situations in Afghanistan, Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus and Central Asia," Lavrov said.

According to him, the sides agreed on the need to continue work within implemented projects, including a joint plan on combating international terrorism, efforts to end drug trafficking and the prevention of weapons of mass destruction expansion.

The minister said that work within the framework of the Russia-NATO Council was advancing successfully in such areas as joint peacekeeping activities, operational compatibility, discussions on the control of airspace, and issues concerning the Theater Missile Defense.

According to him, cooperation between the CSTO and NATO was discussed at the meeting as well.

Scheffer said relations between Russia and NATO had developed. He said all areas of cooperation had spheres for political dialogue and practical interaction.

He also said the bloc was doing everything to step up the current dialogue.

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