Full Text of Vladimir Putin's Message to Participants of the Summit of League of Arab States

Vladimir Putin sent a message to participants of the meeting of heads of state and government of countries-members of the League of Arab States.

Please find enclosed the full text of the message received by RIA Novosti from the Russian President's press service:

"I welcome the opportunity to send greetings and good wishes to all participants of the all-Arab summit meeting.

Your meeting takes place in complicated political environment. The situation in the Middle East is becoming tenser. Obviously, the situation around Iraq which you urgently gathered in Egypt to discuss concerns not only countries and peoples of the region but of the whole world.

In the last months as a result of persistent efforts of the international community favorable conditions were created to finally resolve the issue of Iraqi potential of mass destruction weapons and means of their delivery. UNMOVIC and IAEA inspection groups operating in the territory of Iraq are, in general, successfully implementing the mandate of the UN Security Council. One should also note readiness of the Iraqi side to constructively co-operate with international inspectors. With this in mind it is our opinion that it is necessary to continue UNMOVIC and IAEA mission in Iraq and, if necessary, to undertake additional measures to increase their expert and technical potential. This whole complex of problems can and has to be resolved within the framework of the Security Council which, in our deep conviction, is designed to play the pivotal role in the process of Iraqi settlement.

I am sure that the Arab world as well as Russia is interested in resolution of the Iraqi problem without use of violence, within the context of full implementation of appropriate resolutions of the UN Security Council.

That is the only way to avoid extremely negative military, political, economic and humanitarian consequences, which the new armed conflict in the region can entail.

The situation around Iraq irrespective of its urgency should not shield the major outstanding Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East or serve as a pretext to delay that settlement. Moreover, we are deeply convinced that the soonest launch of a mechanism to settle relations between Israel and Arabs, first of all Palestinians, will create more favorable background also to search for political decisions of the Iraqi crisis.

Russia firmly comes out in favor of settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict on the basis of resolutions 242 and 338 of the Security Council, on Madrid principles, first of all on the "Land for peace" formula, on current agreements and arrangements as well as on resolution 1397 of the UN Security Council which provides for creation of a viable and sovereign Palestinian state to co-exist with Israel within safe and recognized borders. We also consider the initiative put forward by Saudi Arabia and adopted by the Arab summit in Beirut in March 2002 as an integral part of the international legal foundation of the Arab-Israeli settlement.

The road towards such settlement was defined in the "road map" worked out by the four international intermediaries, the launch of which, according to Russia, is vitally needed in the nearest future.

I am confident that significance of decisions, which you will adopt by the results of the summit meeting, will correspond to the scale of events experienced presently by the Middle East.

I am also confident that it is in our common interests to continue and strengthen traditional friendship and co-operation which characterize relations between Russia and Arab countires."

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Author`s name: Editorial Team