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REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) _ Heralding the Cold War's funeral, NATO and Russia reached a historic agreement Tuesday to combat common security threats in the post-Sept. 11 era.

The deal establishing a joint council of the 19 NATO nations and Russia was announced by NATO foreign ministers after meeting with Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov.

With the pact arising from Russian President Vladimir Putin's support for the West since the Sept. 11 terror attacks, Russia took another significant step toward its former enemies, after agreeing Monday with Washington to shrink their nuclear arsenals.

``This is the last rites, the funeral of the Cold War,'' said British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

``Fifteen years ago, Russia was the enemy, now Russia becomes our friend and ally. There could be no bigger change.''