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Gates travels to Russia

By Charley Keyes, CNN
  • Gates will visit Moscow, St. Petersburg
  • This will likely be his last trip as defense secretary

Washington (CNN) -- The Pentagon announced Friday that Defense Secretary Robert Gates will travel to Russia this weekend.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said the trip will continue even during U.S. and allied deliberations over possible action over Libya, after yesterday United Nation's resolution.

"There is no consideration being given to delaying this trip," Morrell said at the Pentagon. Morrell said Gates maintains constant communications links with Washington wherever he goes. "He can conduct, carry out his responsibilities, no matter where he is in the world."

This will be Gates fourth visit to Russia as defense secretary, and it will probably be his final one in that post before his expected retirement later this year. With stops in both St. Petersburg and Moscow, Gates will take up a wide range of issues with Russian leaders.

Among those will be how Russia can assist with the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, how the two countries can cooperate on missile defense and how both countries can deal with implementing reforms and efficiencies in their respective militaries.