Russia welcomes the success of NATO-led coalition forces and the stabilization of the situation in Afghanistan, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said on Tuesday.
"Our positions on Afghanistan coincide in many areas. Russia is interested in the stabilization of the situation in the region and in the success of the coalition forces [there]," Serdyukov said after a meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates in Moscow.
Russia's main contribution to the NATO war effort in Afghanistan has been so far the provision of improved transit and supply routes for coalition forces and the deliveries of small arms and ammunition to the Afghan police.
Other contributions include the supply of Mi-17 helicopters and crews to train Afghan pilots, Russian assistance in training Afghan national security forces, and increased cooperation on counter-narcotics and border security.
During the meeting, Serdyukov and Gates confirmed that progress has been made on a wide range of issues as part of Russian-U.S. military cooperation in the past year and a half, including the signing of a new bilateral strategic arms reduction pact.
Gates is on his last visit to Russia in his present capacity. He will meet with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev later on Tuesday.
The Pentagon chief has repeated several times that he would retire in 2011, before the 2012 election campaigns begin. He said he wants to vacate his office this year so that a new minister could work with the current presidential administration before elections next year.
MOSCOW, March 22 (RIA Novosti)
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