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Lavrov comes to Washington for G8, Quartet, bilateral meetings

April 11, 2012, 4:53 UTC+3

The visit will concentrate on the Syrian crisis settlement in the bilateral and multilateral formats

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WASHINGTON DC, April 11 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has come to Washington DC to attend G8 and Quartet conferences and a number of bilateral meetings, among them with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

He will stay in the U.S. capital city through Thursday. The visit will concentrate on the Syrian crisis settlement in the bilateral and multilateral formats. Clinton said on Tuesday she planned to discuss Syria primarily with the Russian colleague.

The working program of Lavrov will start in several hours with a meeting of the Middle East Mediating Quartet, which comprises Russia, the United States, the United Nations and the European Union. Shortly before the meeting, Russia expressed hope that the standstill in the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations will be overcome. Lavrov called on the Quartet members to intensify their efforts. “The Quartet should be wiser in the settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli question,” the minister said. “It is the most important to prevent the Arab Spring’s overshadowing of the Palestinian problem. Hopefully, the upcoming ministerial meeting of the Quartet will find solutions, which will resume the negotiating process.”

Lavrov and other G8 foreign ministers will hold two-day negotiations on a broad range of issues. “The meeting will start with the discussion of transnational threats and challenges,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said. “Lavrov will open debates on terrorism. It is necessary to evaluate new terrorist threats and risks appearing amid the events in the Middle East and North Africa. One of them is the proliferation of weapons from Libya, primarily man-portable anti-aircraft missile launchers.”

“The ministers will give a serious consideration to the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs. Russia views the Iranian nuclear program situation as alarming but not hopeless. We insist on the Iranian full implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions, which aim to prevent a possible military dimension in the nuclear activity of Tehran,” Lukashevich said. “Russia shares concern of G8 partners about the situation on the Korean Peninsula. The decision of Pyongyang to launch a satellite is an example of negligence of UN Security Council resolutions. A solution must be found on the political and diplomatic track,” he said.

“Naturally, the ministers will speak about Syria. Our position is well known: we fully support the six-item plan suggested by UN/LAS Envoy Kofi Annan and supported by the UN Security Council on March 21,” he said.

“Finally, Russia expects the G8 to give much attention to Afghanistan. Its priority is a strong anti-drug component added to the international strategy,” he said.

Lavrov and Clinton will negotiate on Thursday. They will have a traditional discussion of bilateral relations and pressing international problems.


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