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Lavrov says arms sales are lawful

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has told at a meeting of the Middle East Quartet in New York that exports of Russian weapons are all above board. The statement follows claims by Israel and the U.S. that Moscow's supply of arms to Syria could upset

“All we sell is absolutely transparent, is done in accordance with our international obligations and our law in the export sphere. Our export control is one of the strictest in the world. And we do not allow deliveries that would create a lack of balance in the region,” he told reporters.

The meeting of the Quartet was one of a series attended by Mr Lavrov on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

The issue was not raised at a bilateral session between Russia and Israel.

Lavrov also held talks with his Syrian counterpart, focusing on relations between the two countries and prospects for peace in the Middle East.

Syria wants a resolution to its territorial claim on the Golan Heights. 

Israel occupied the stategic plateau in the 1967 war and has consistently refused to hand it back. 

Syria wants the issue addressed within the framework of an overall Middle East settlement. Russia agrees, saying only a comprehensive settlement could be lasting in the Middle East.

“Our relationship is developing well. During this meeting, we focused on the upcoming Middle East peace conference that will be held in Washington in November,” Sergey Lavrov said.

Georgia cancels talks

Second day of UN General Assembly

Georgia cancels talks

Georgia cancelled bilateral discussion with Russia a couple of hours before talks were set to begin. Sergey Lavrov says the Georgian Foreign Minister is occupied with his President's agenda at the UN.

But Mr Lavrov insists talks between the two sides are necessary. 

“If the Georgian side wants to avoid an unpleasant discussions on what has happened recently in Abkhazia and South Ossetia this does them no credit,” he noted.

While Russia's discussions on the Middle East were apparently conducted in an atmosphere of harmony, the events of the day hinted that relations with neighbouring Georgia have not got out of their current rough patch.

Second day of UN General Assembly

Meanwhile the second day of the 62nd United Nations General Assembly has opened in New York.  The future of Kosovo, security in Africa, and Middle East peace are among the topics on the agenda of this year's session.

Leaders of 31 countries, including Iraq, Georgia and Cuba will have their chance to voice their concerns to the world.

Many delegates are looking forward to the speech by Venezuela President Hugo Chavez.  Mr Chavez is rarely out of the media spotlight because of his strong anti-American rhetoric, socialistic economic reforms and introducing radical new laws.

The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, will be meeting his counterparts from Belarus, Algeria Turkey and Nigeria. He will also have a one-on-one session with the president of Serbia Boris Tadic. Mr Lavrov is also scheduled to have a working lunch with representatives of the G8 countries.