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Ivanov: Russia, US should take lead in building new arms regime
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Russia's First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said Sunday that Russia and the United States should show the leadership in building a new international arms regime.

It was time to replace the existing SALT 1 (Strategic Arms Limitation Talks) arms limitation treaty with a new regime for the control and reduction of weapons of mass destruction, Ivanov told a group of high-profile diplomats at a key security conference in the southern German city of Munich.

"As I see it, this is precisely an area of international relations where Russia and the United States not merely could, but are directly obliged to show leadership," he said.

"Sooner or later, we will have to start working in a multilateral format since none of us here, I am sure, has any doubts about the importance of multilateral barriers to WMD (weapons of mass destruction) proliferation," he said.

"Russia will firmly protect its national interests, but not by establishing military blocs or open confrontation with its opponents," he added.

Meanwhile, Ivanov urged Western countries to decisively abandon ideological prejudice against Russia, which he said might trigger a new round of Cold War.

"It is time we should decisively abandon all approaches that have long divided our world on ideological grounds," Ivanov said.

Ivanov underlined that some nations, long with "double standards" against Russia, have the potential to "return to the containment policy."

"Some states strive to exploit anti-terrorist activities as a pretext to achieve their own geopolitical and economic goals," he said.

About 300 high-profile diplomats, including U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the European Union's foreign-policy chief Javier Solana, discussed a range of the world's most thorny issues during the three-day annual meeting, which closed on Sunday.

(Xinhua News Agency February 11, 2008)

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