Russian Foreign Minister to Meet His Saudi Arabian Counterpart

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov is to meet his Saudi Arabian counterpart Prince Saud al-Faisal, who arrived in Moscow the other day.

Both Foreign Ministers will discuss the post-war Iraqi settlement, the Mideastern situation, as well as the struggle against international terrorism, the Russian Foreign Ministry's spokesman Alexander Yakovenko noted.

Russia intends to reaffirm the need for restoring peaceful life in Iraq as soon as possible and ensuring the UN's pivotal role in the process of that country's post-conflict settlement, Yakovenko added.

Moscow deems it important to completely settle the issue of Iraq's disarmament and the lifting of anti-Iraqi sanctions on the basis of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, Yakovenko stressed. Russia reacted positively to the Saudi Arabian initiative on holding a conference of Foreign Ministers from countries bordering on Iraq, as well as those from Egypt and Bahrein, in Riyadh this past April, Yakovenko went on to say.

Moreover, the Russian side will emphasize the need for continued efforts on the part of four international mediators, i.e. Russia, the United States, the European Union and the UN, as well as other concerned parties, in connection with the situation on Palestinian territories, Yakovenko noted. Such efforts should aim to create favorable conditions making it possible to resume movement toward a fair and comprehensive Mideastern peace settlement, including the creation of a Palestinian state, on the basis of the UNSC's resolutions Nos. 242, 338 and 1397, Madrid principles, as well as available agreements and accords, the high-ranking Russian diplomat added. The so-called Road map, which was drafted by the four international mediators, shows the way toward attaining this goal, Yakovenko stressed.

Moscow attaches considerable importance to enhancing its interaction with Saudi Arabia. Bilateral ties have intensified over the last few years. Among other things, the Russian - Saudi Arabian commission for trade-and-economic and science-and-technical cooperation held its first session in October 2002. At the same time, the first-ever bilateral business forum, i.e. an informal conference involving Russian and Saudi Arabian businessmen, was organized. Moreover, national chambers of commerce and industry signed a protocol stipulating the establishment of the Russian - Saudi Arabian business council.

Saud al-Faisal is to leave Moscow May 9.

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