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10 Jul, 2007 17:47

Lavrov airs Russian Foreign Policy views

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is back in Moscow after a ministerial meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, or SCO, in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek ahead of the August summit.

The organisation – set up six years ago – deals with threats to regional security, and unites Russia, China and four Central Asian countries – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Presidents of all the member states and those of the observer states are due to take part in the summit next month.

The main goal of the ministerial meeting was to set up the foundations for the August summit and to decide its agenda. In addition to regional security issues, the ministers discussed prospects for the development of the SCO as an internationally recognised organisation. Much attention was paid to involving the observer states into the work of the body

All the ministers seem to be satisfied with the talks and are looking forward to the summit.

A lot of internationally significant issues have not been on the agenda of the meeting. However, Sergey Lavrov has taken the time to talk to journalists about some of the problems.

Concerning the U.S. plans to deploy an anti-missile defence shield in Eastern Europe, Sergey Lavrov said consultations at expert level are to begin and are to take place prior to the ‘two-plus-two’ format meeting that’ll be held in autumn between Russia’s Foreign Minister and the Defence Minister, and Robert Gates and Condoleezza Rice from the U.S. Experts will meet and put together proposals and suggestions concerning the U.S. plans and, also, Russia’s proposal to jointly use the Gabala radar station based in Azerbaijan.

The situation in the Middle East was also mentioned. According to Russia Today’s correspondent Katerina Azarova, who traveled with the minister to Bishkek, Sergey Lavrov expressed his concern about the fact that the Middle East Quartet meeting has been postponed for a number of times and said that Russia sees no reasons for delays.

Some of the members of the Quartet called for the meeting after the situation in the Palestinian Autonomy stabilises. However, Mr Lavrov believes that the body should not gather just to sign already prepared documents, but it should meet whenever it is necessary to work towards bringing stability to the region. He also added that Russia will support any plan that will lead to improving and stabilising the situation in the region.

As for the North Korean nuclear issue, Sergey Lavrov said that the country acts in accordance with the agreement reached in February during the six-party talks.