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Russia eyes cooperation with Iran after NATO Kosovo strike: agency

MOSCOW, March 24 (AFP) - The Russian ministries of defence and foreign affairs are preparing proposals for President Boris Yeltsin under which Moscow could review its cooperation with Iran, arm Belgrade and replace nuclear weapons in Belarus, ITAR-TASS reported Wednesday.

Under the proposals yet to be put to Yeltsin, Russia "seriously envisages" the possibility of abandoning its accords with the United States on deliveries of arms and military materiel to Iran in the case of NATO air strikes on Yugoslavia, the agency said without quoting sources.

NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana announced late Tuesday that he had ordered air strikes against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia after a failed reconciliation mission by US special envoy Richard Holbrooke.

Russia would also reserve the right to "supply military aid to Yugoslavia as a UN member country that is the victim of aggression," ITAR-TASS said.

The Russian peacekeeping force in Bosnia-Hercegovina might stop obeying the orders of NATO generals, heeding only those from the Russian command, the agency said.

It added that the defence ministry may propose to the president a plan under which Russia would install strategic nuclear arms on the territory of Belarus.

Other strategies foreseen in response to NATO air strikes are the recall of Russia's military representative at NATO headquarters in Brussels, and an end to cooperation with the Atlantic Alliance under the Partnership for Peace programme.


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