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Russian-proposed European security pact debated - aide

MOSCOW. Nov 12 (Interfax) - Debates between Russia and European countries on a Russian-proposed treaty on European security are passing into a practical phase, a senior aide to the Russian president said on Wednesday.

"This idea is not getting rejected in Europe, they have questions and we are answering them. We cannot force our vision of this treaty on our colleagues but must absorb their opinions and then sit down at the negotiating table," Sergei Prikhodko told Interfax.

It was back in summer 2008 that Moscow suggested to European countries what groups of issues the treaty should address, Prikhodko said.

In a comment on statements by European leaders that they were expecting more detailed proposals from Russia, the aide said Russia was awaiting proposals from European nations "so that the discussion is not unilateral" and "so that it is not only Russia that sets forth its vision."

Prikhodko said practically all European countries took the view that some European organizations set up soon after World War II or during the Cold War have become less effective. "Everyone agrees that the OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] is losing its influence, that NATO fails to answer many questions," he said.

"We have handed over a certain set of ideas to our principal partners, and as for details, we are ready to go into them later on, depending on how much interest we can see on the part of our partners," Prikhodko said.

Otherwise, debates may boil down to criticism of Russian proposals, he argued.

So far Russia has outlined five or six groups of issues to be tackled by the proposed accord, he said. They would cover matters such as security, responses to new threats and risks, and decision making mechanisms.

"Today it is our main task to stimulate our European partners to join us in a really serious discussion in order to find out what is important for them. We would like the European Union to play the key role in this. Unlike the OSCE, it takes a down-to-earth attitude and deals with practical political and economic matters," Prikhodko said.

Prikhodko said the treaty initiative, which has been formally put forward by President Dmitry Medvedev, is on the agenda for the planned EU-Russia summit on Friday and that Medvedev would deal with it in a speech at the meeting.