Russian Foreign Minister goes to Balkans on working visit

Foreign Minister of Russia Igor Ivanov goes to the Balkans today on a working visit. Bosnia and Herzegovina is to be the first he is to visit during his tour.

At the talks with the leaders of that country Ivanov "is going to stress Russia's adherence to the course of strengthening Bosnia's statehood," official spokesman of the Russian Foreign Ministry Alexander Yakovenko told RIA Novosti. "Moscow is prepared to give every assistance, in future as well, to establishing a united multinational democratic and self-sufficient Bosnia and Herzegovina," the diplomat pointed out.

During his tour of Bosnia and Herzegovina Ivanov will meet with Paddy Ashdown, a High Representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to Yakovenko, the Russian Foreign Minister is to "express support for his efforts to implement in practice the program of transformations in the economy and the social sphere, approved by the Guidance Committee of the Council for Carrying out the Peace Agreement, and also to facilitate actions to consolidate the supremacy of law." "Ivanov will stress that further efforts by the High Representative are necessary to achieve and strengthen the consensus between the sides on major issues of developing the state and will emphasise the importance of consistently pursuing the line for handing over to the Bosnian authorities responsibility for the situation in the country," Yakovenko said.

A question of a possibility of convening an international conference to plan measures to guarantee security in the Balkans will also be raised at the talks. Moscow made a proposal to this effect a few years back.

According to the Foreign Ministry spokesman, the Balkans remains to be among Russia's interests. "There exist some profound problems in the region which are 'mothballed' and are yet to be solved. It would be a mistake to pretend that they are unimportant today," Yakovenko said.

During the tour of the Balkans the Russian minister will visit also Serbia and Montenegro and Slovenia.

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