G8 Foreign Ministers ready to prepare G8 summit

The Friday meeting of G8 foreign ministers in Washington confirmed their readiness for preparing a G8 summit, said the press and information department of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

The forthcoming summit should mark an important stage in further development of G8 cooperation in the fight against international terrorism, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, settlement of international conflicts, solution of global problems and development of the third world countries, the Foreign Ministry noted.

The ministers discussed many foreign policy issues to be on the agenda of G8 summit in Sea Island (USA) on June 8-10.

The meeting focused on common G8 approaches to some vital international and regional problems, including the situations in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East, the department reported.

G8 foreign ministers considered the most important practical initiatives to be submitted to the summit in Sea Island, in particular, the establishment of partnership with Mideastern countries, consolidation of peacekeeping potential in South Africa, etc.

Russian Acting Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held several bilateral meetings with his counterparts in Washington, for instance, with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi.

The sides expressed satisfaction with rapid development of Russian-Japanese relations and political dialogue. Lavrov and Kawaguchi confirmed mutual readiness for further partnership in accordance with the Russian-Japanese plan of actions and other documents. In addition, they achieved an agreement on Kawaguchi's visit to Moscow in late June 2004.

Sergei Lavrov also met with his British counterpart Jack Straw. They discussed some key international issues, first of all, the situation in Iraq.

This issue was on the agenda of Mr. Lavrov's meeting with Canadian Foreign Minister William Graham. Besides, they discussed cooperation within the Arctic Council and Russia's forthcoming presidency in this organization.

The sides also considered strategic stability issues. The ministers focused on the problem of weapons in space. Both Russia and Canada come out against it.

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