STUTTGART, Germany — Military officers from the U.S. European Command and Russia spent two days this week mapping out next year’s plan for military contacts between the two countries.

It is the second time EUCOM has conducted the planning sessions after Russia was added to its area of responsibility last year.

Before that shift, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff planned all military exchanges between the Americans and Russians, said Army Maj. Andrew M. Berrier, a country action officer for Russia and Belarus.

In 2003, about 50 events were scheduled, with about half of them having been completed, Berrier said. He declined to discuss how many events are being proposed for 2004. Those are the focus of the ongoing talks.

Six Russian officers — on the level of colonels and majors — met Tuesday and Wednesday with about 20 EUCOM officers. The group met to discuss proposed military activities and prioritize the possibilities for next year, said Berrier, a foreign affairs officer. The two countries are hoping to hold a joint command-post exercise this fall, Berrier said.

Since last year, a flurry of activity has occurred between EUCOM’s military leaders and their Russian counterparts.

For example, before EUCOM deputy commander Marine Gen. Carlton Fulford stepped down a few months ago, he visited Moscow. The Russian Naval Infantry and U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe have had mutual visits in Stuttgart and Russia and held joint training exercises the past year.

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