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RHODES, Greece, October 5 (Itar-Tass) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov plans to visit Egypt and Saudi Arabia in early November to discuss the Syrian crisis, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, the Russian president's special envoy for the Middle East, told Itar-Tass on Friday. He participates in the Rhodes Forum.
Timing for the visit is under consideration now. “First, it is known that we are to hold the second round of the Strategic Dialogue of the RF and the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf. We will hope such a meeting on the ministerial level will take place in Ar Riyadh in early November," he said.
“At the same time, we now contact Arab League leaders and our Egyptian partners so that the minster might make a synchronized visit to Egypt, to Cairo, where he could have meetings with representatives of the Egyptian leaders and with the Arab League secretary general,” he said.
Russia proposed to hold the meeting anywhere, including in Ar Riyadh, since Saudi Arabia took over the presidency of the Cooperation Council in January 2012, and in Ar Riyadh to hold such a conference that would be devoted only to Syria, the diplomat said.
"We are interested in the dialogue and open partnership discussion with our Arab colleagues from the Gulf, which, in particular Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others, play a rather active and not one-meaning role in Syrian affairs," he noted.
"We always favour discussion of these issues, even disagreements, at the negotiating table, especially since we have the Strategic Dialogue mechanism," he added.