Russian Foreign Minister concludes his visit to U.S.

Sergey Lavrov joined representatives from the UN, U.S., and the EU for talks in Washington. He also met with U.S. President Bush, and the two discussed Russia's entry to the World Trade Organization, and threats to global peace.

Mr Lavrov was in Washington to discuss the issues currently dominating the world's attention including strategy in the Middle East peace process. At a bilateral meeting with President Bush at the White House, Mr Lavrov and the president discussed the importance of relations between the two countries.

“President Bush has confirmed all the agreements reached with President Putin during their last meetings including the one in Hanoi, and they will be put into practice. In particular, he confirmed the U.S. will support Russia’s entry into the World Trade Organisation. He pledged his negotiators to help reach a positive result on the issue. We are also satisfied with the way the initiative to create a global coalition to fight against nuclear terrorism is being implemented,” announced Mr Lavrov after the talks.

Before heading to the Quartet meeting, the foreign minister also met with the U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to discuss Russia's role in the UN and its reform. At a meeting of the Quartet Middle East peace mediators, the group, which includes representatives of the European Union, the United Nations, Russia and the U.S., reaffirmed their commitment to the creation of a Palestinian state and called for an end to violence in the Gaza Strip."
 
“The Quartet called for Palestinian unity in support of a government committed to non-violence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the Roadmap. The Quartet reaffirmed that these principles endure,” announced Mr Ban.

The Russian foreign minister says that the Quartet peace brokers' adopted statement fully reflects the Russian position.

“The statement confirms all the main principles which are at the base of our efforts to reach a lasting, comprehensive peace, and I think that it's one of the main success of this meeting and the Russian position has been fully reflected in the document that has just been read,” he said.

Mr Lavrov also called for Syria to participate in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
 
“Russia favours involving all those who can contribute to progress into this process. And definitely in the case of Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Syria could play a constructive role,” he suggested.

But some members of the Quarter were not fully behind that thinking.

“I think Syria knows what it needs to do to be a stabilizing force not just in the Palestinian-Israeli issue but the region as a whole. And Syria doesn't need the United States to tell it what it needs to do to be a stabilizing force. And I hope that they will in fact try an play a positive role, rather than a negative one,” claimed the U.S. State Secretary Condoleezza Rice.

Foreign Minister Lavrov concluded his visit to Washington with a bilateral meeting with Condoleezza Rice to discuss the Iranian nuclear program, the situation in Iraq, and once again a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

All members of the Quartet expressed their concerns about the recent rise of violence in the Middle East and called for respect for law and order. The U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will travel to the region later this month to hold talks with both Israeli and Palestinian leadership. After which the Quartet will meet again to continue their work to establish a comprehensive peace solution in the Middle East.