Author`s name Pravda.Ru

Sergei Lavrov, Jack Straw discuss counter-terrorism, WMD non-proliferation

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw focused on the fight against international terrorism, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the UN role, regional conflicts and other key international problems in Moscow on Wednesday.

According to Sergei Lavrov, the sides have common positions on most of them.

Vladimir Putin and Tony Blair have been giving much attention to the development of bilateral relations, he noted. The Russian and British governments, ministries and audit chambers are maintaining regular contacts, the Russian Foreign Minister added.

"These relations and dialogue between our businessmen should be on the bilateral agenda," Sergei Lavrov said.

On his part, Jack Straw came out for the expansion of Russian-British cooperation adding that the United Kingdom is a key investor in the Russian economy.

Russia comes out for the denuclearization of the Middle East, Sergei Lavrov told a press conference following the talks with Mr. Straw.

"Russia's position on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is well known. In particular, we come out for formation of nuclear-free zones in all regions," the Russian Foreign Minister stressed.

In his words, the UN Security Council backed the creation of such zones in the Middle East. "I expect Jack Straw to discuss this issue during his trip to the Middle East," Mr. Lavrov added.

According to the British Foreign Secretary, London believes that the Middle East should be free from all weapons, including nuclear ones.

The Yukos case is Russia's domestic affair, Mr. Straw told journalists.

"We have direct investments in Russia," he added.

Moreover, he pointed out the importance of the investment climate predictability.

After that, Jack Straw met with Russian Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov. They also focused on key regional and international security issues.

Opening the meeting with Jack Straw, Igor Ivanov stated that Russian-British relations are rapidly developing in all spheres.

Mr. Ivanov proposed that he and the British Foreign Secretary discuss regional conflicts, the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran's nuclear problems and other issues of mutual interest.

London was sad for Igor Ivanov's dismissal from the Foreign Minister's post and glad for his appointment to the post of the Security Council Secretary, Jack Straw said jokingly.

After that the talks continued behind closed doors.