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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S, Russian Military Chiefs Agree Closer Contacts

U.S. and Russian military chiefs have agreed on a program of military exchanges and joint exercises and the creation of a working group to help combat international terrorism, Russian news agencies reported.

The documents were signed Tuesday in Moscow by U.S. Army General Henry Shelton, chairman of the military Joint Chiefs of Staff, and by General Anatoly Kvashnin, chief of Russia's general staff.

Interfax quoted Kvashnin as saying the anti-terrorist cooperation would involve exchanging experience and information if necessary, but he gave no further details of the agreements.

Shelton said sales of Russian arms to Iran, a country Washington has accused of sponsoring terrorism, might destabilize the situation in the region, but he added that this was not discussed at his talks with Kvashnin.

The United States is anxious to find out more about Russia's intentions toward Iran after Moscow said it was pulling out of a 1995 pact not to sell conventional arms to Iran.

Kvashnin was quoted as saying Russian-Iranian cooperation was in line with agreements adopted "in the interests of the entire world community and our bilateral relations."

Separately, the Russian Foreign Ministry said cooperation with the West's NATO military alliance would be discussed at a meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels on Dec. 15.

"The meeting, if successful, could give an additional impulse to the process of thawing relations between Russia and the North Atlantic alliance," it said in a statement.

Russia's relations with NATO have been strained by last year's conflict over Kosovo, when Moscow condemned NATO bombing raids, and by differences over U.S. proposals to deploy a National Missile Defense system.

Moscow opposes amending the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty to allow for the NMD system, which Washington says could shield it against a perceived threat of missile attacks from countries such as Iran, Iraq and North Korea.