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MOSCOW, September 7. /TASS/. The chief of Russia’s General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, met with the head of NATO’s Military Committee Petr Pavel in Baku on Thursday to discuss international security and the Zapad-2017 exercise, the Defense Ministry said.
"General of the Army Valery Gerasimov and Colonel-General Petr Pavel exchanged opinion of the situation in the field of international security in Europe and the Middle East. Gerasimov briefed the chairman of NATO’s Military Committee on the forthcoming strategic exercise Zapad-2017. In particular, he said it would be a purely routine and defensive exercise not directed against third countries. Gerasimov pointed out that the main purpose was to maintain the security of the Union State of Russia and Belarus.
The parties agreed to have more contacts.
Earlier, the North Atlantic Alliance said the meeting followed a telephone conversation Gerasimov and Pavel had on March 3, 2017. That conversation, held at NATO’s initiative, was the first-ever high-level contact after the NATO Council froze relations with Russia in April 2014 over the situation in Ukraine. On February 16, 2017, Gerasimov met with the Chief of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford in Baku.