Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates have signed a memorandum of understanding intended to boost military cooperation between the countries.
The document, which replaces an outdated 1993 agreement, was signed during Serdyukov's two-day visit to Washington, the first in more than two years.
The memorandum is intended to "bring defense and military cooperation in line with the new level of relations" between Russia and the United States," the document reads.
In line with the memorandum, the two countries' military authorities intend to annually develop a joint work plan "for the purposes of effective training and implementation of specific defense and military cooperation programs and events."
During the talks in Washington, Gates and Serdyukov also signed a joint statement on the establishment of the U.S.-Russian Defense Relations Working Group.
According to the statement, the group will focus on issues related to U.S. and Russian military reforms and help achieve transparency in relations between the counties.
The military reforms have been a major issue of discussions during the meeting, a high-ranking Pentagon source told reporters on Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, Gates told a daily press briefing that he and his Russian counterpart were working hard to allow large-scale reforms in the two countries' armies.
Serdyukov said in his turn that these reforms were "painful," but "absolutely necessary for the creation of a modern Army, the Army of the 21st century."
According to the source, Gates and Serdyukov also discussed the ratification of a new Russian-U.S. arms reduction treaty, issues related to the implementation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) and the U.S. missile defense system in Europe, as well as the Iranian nuclear issue, the situation in the Middle East, the South Caucasus, and Central Asia.
Gates reportedly told his Russian colleague that the U.S. administration was taking serious steps to speed up the ratification of the new arms cuts treaty, which may take place within the next few weeks.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama signed the new treaty, intended to replace the START 1 treaty that expired in December 2009, during their April's meeting in Prague.
WASHINGTON, September 16 (RIA Novosti)