Russia, U.S. defence chiefs discuss Afghanistan,arms
By Oleg Shchedrov
MOSCOW, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov said on Saturday he and visiting U.S. Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld discussed the role of Russia's special services in the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan.
"Today we discussed the specific levels of our cooperation," Ivanov told reporters after Rumsfeld's meeting with President Vladimir Putin in which he also took part.
"To a large part it concerns Russia's use of special services and here I cannot comment any further," Ivanov, who had separate talks with Rumsfeld earlier on Saturday, added.
Rumsfeld's brief visit to Moscow is the first leg of his tour of five countries also including three of Afghanistan's neighbours -- Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan -- and India.
Russia has sided with the United States in efforts to form a global anti-terrorism coalition, launched after the September 11 attacks on Washington and New York.
It also backed the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan aimed at wiping out the ruling Taliban, which harbours Saudi-born dissident Osama bin Laden -- blamed by Washington for the September attacks.
Supplying intelligence information to the United States about terrorist organisations and Afghanistan was part of Russia's contribution to the war.
Putin told Rumsfeld that he was impressed by the level of cooperation between the two nations' military and special services, referred to in Russia as "power structures."
"After the meeting with the U.S. President in Shanghai we witnessed a further rapprochement between the power structures including special services," he said in reference to his meeting with Bush on the fringes of the regional summit in China.
However, Ivanov ruled out the possibility of sending Russian troops to Afghanistan. "I see no reason why we should change our position," he said.
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