Russian FM paves way for G8 summit

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has met his counterpart from Germany in Ekaterinburg on Wednesday. The meeting aimed to lay the foundations for the upcoming top-level talks in Germany, as well as the G8 summit in Japan.

At the meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Lavrov discussed a number of bilateral and international issues.

Speaking to the media, both said they had major plans in terms of economic co-operation between the two countries, especially in investments. While energy had previously been at the heart of their partnership, they’re now determined to develop joint projects in the hi-tech field.

Steinmeier pointed out they should continue working on solving broader international issues, such as the CFE Treaty, U.S. missile-defence shield in eastern Europe, as well as the situations in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Iran.

Lavrov, for his part, said the six biggest world powers should make clear offers to Iran over its nuclear programme. He added that Tehran should meet the demands of the International Atomic Energy Agency that have the backing of the UN Security Council.

“Whenever this or that member takes steps that haven’t been agreed upon, and that may even involve sanctions against third countries, this seriously undermines efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Iranian nuclear problem,” said Lavrov at the meeting.

In addition, the two ministers touched upon the recent developments in Georgia’s breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The meeting was organised in preparation for the visit of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to Germany and the top-level talks in Japan within the framework of the G8 summit.

Later on Wednesday, one day before the meeting of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) economic bloc, Lavrov is due to meet his Chinese counterpart. Among other things, the talks will outline the upcoming visit of President Medvedev to China.