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Lavrov calls to boost cooperation in Middle East settlement

Russia is urging better international cooperation to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"Unilateral initiatives do not yield any results. Joint work is needed in the Middle East settlement and in resolving other problems, particularly in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said following his talks with Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and other top officials.

On his official visit to the country, Sergey Lavrov called on leaders to step up the UN role in the Middle East process. "Russia is against marginalizing the U.N. role," he said.

According to the minister, the UN should play an important role in the Middle East settlement while the Security Council "should monitor the implementation of its resolutions".

After the talks with Secretary-General of the League of Arab States Amr Moussa, Sergey Lavrov said nobody is trying to hamper the planned Moscow conference on the Middle East.

“I don't think anyone is trying to intentionally slow down the preparations for a Middle East Conference in Moscow,” he said. “But the problem is that we can only call for a conference when peace negotiations have officially been re-launched.”

Lavrov said the conference would take place as soon as Palestine and Israel resume their dialogue. He also pointed to the role of the Middle East quartet in resolving tensions in the region.

"The Quartet needs confidence and it should be justified and take steps, which prevent a deadlock in the Middle East settlement,” he said.

“Due to the positions of the region's countries, Russia is trying to improve cooperation between the Quartet and the League of Arab States," the minister added.

As a member of the quartet, which also includes the EU, United States and the UN, Russia has repeatedly called for an international conference to be held in Moscow. Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been deadlocked for over a year.