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MOSCOW, October 10 (Itar-Tass) — The issue of the European antiballistic missile defence (Euro ABM) remains the most complicated in relations between NATO and Russia, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Gen. Nikolai Makarov said here on Monday opening a meeting with NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) Admiral James G. Stavridis.
“At today’s talks I welcome the opportunity to discuss the most difficult issues in the mutual relations, to discuss and hear how these issues are understood in Russia and in the alliance,” said Makarov. He stressed that there are issues between NATO and Russia that the two sides understand similarly, however, there are differences as well. But I am confident that these issues should be settled at the negotiating table. I expect a substantive and specific conversation today,” the RF Army Chief of Staff said.
Stavridis for his part called Makarov “my good friend” and agreed that Russia and NATO have many spheres in which their military cooperation is developing and will develop.
Ahead of the meeting with Makarov, Stavridis held half-hour talks with the Chief of Staff of the Russian Navy, Admiral Alexander Tatarinov. They discussed issues of combating piracy and future cooperation within the framework of operation Active Endeavour that NATO is conducting in the Mediterranean. The Russian Navy joined this operation aimed at preventing the smuggling of materials that may be used by terrorists, in 2006.
On October 11, Stavridis will arrive in Volgograd to meet with the Command of the Southern Military District and to study the tasks and the daily activities of the district troops. Volgograd will be the last stopover in a Russian visit of the NATO commander.