Russia Favors Free Passge Straits

MOSCOW (Itar-Tass)–Russia expressed the need for Turkey to strictly observe the principle of the free passage and navigation in the Black Sea straits–Foreign Ministry deputy spokesman Valery Nesterushkin told a news conference Tuesday.

According to the spokesman–deputy foreign ministers held bilateral political consultations last week. Taking part in the talks were Viktor Posuvalyuk and Ali Tuygan. The Turkish representative was received by First Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Boris Pastukhov.

According to the spokesman–considerable attention during the talks was paid to bilateral relations which are becoming broader–particularly in the trade and economic spheres.

Both sides believe that the impressive trade turnover and economic contacts may and must become an impetus for raising the political relations to a higher level–too.

The Russian side stressed "the need to protect the bilateral relations from a likely destructive influence of those forces which are not yet free from the old stereotypes and are ready to use the Cold War methods.

According to the spokesman–both sides discussed the situation in Chechnya and around it. Tuygan invariably favors a peace settlement in Chechnya within the framework of Russia’s territorial integrity. It’s out of the question to connive to the interference by Turkey into the internal affairs of Russia–he said.

The Russian side stressed the need that Turkey strictly observe the principle of a free passage and navigation in the Black Sea straits which is fixed in the 1936 Montreux Convention–and the illegitimacy of the violation of this internationally-acknowledged principle."

According to Nesterushkin–Tuygan said that Turkey did not search all vessels which use the Black Sea straits.

Linking the problem of navigation in the straits–the Turkish diplomat raised the question (in the traditional Turkish interpretation) of the contract signed by Russia and Cyprus for the exports of Russian air defense systems S-300.

The Russian side outlined the country’s stance on the score–the spokesman’said.

The Russian diplomat said in conclusion that the exchange of views on some regional problems (Nagorno-Karabakh–Abkhazia–Afghanistan and so on) revealed "a certain closeness in the assessmen’s and approaches of our countries–their desire to cooperate."

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