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Lavrov to discuss anti-terrorism efforts with Arab League counterparts

February 01, 8:13 UTC+3 ABU DHABI

The meeting is expected to be attended by foreign ministers from the Arab League Council trio of Bahrain, Tunisia and Algeria

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ABU DHABI, February 1. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet with his Arab League counterparts during the fourth session of the Russian-Arab cooperation forum in Abu Dhabi Wednesday and discuss situation in the Middle East and anti-terrorism efforts.

The meeting is expected to be attended by foreign ministers from the Arab League Council trio of Bahrain, Tunisia and Algeria, along with Mauritania that holds the summit’s presidency and the UAE as the host nation. The organization’s secretary general is also expected to take part, along with top diplomats from other Arab nations.

Russia has repeatedly described the forum as an important platform to coordinate positions on most pressing international issues.

"We view the forum’s fourth session as an important step toward further development and strengthening of the entire scope of traditionally friendly Russian-Arab relations," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

"As part of the session, it is scheduled to hold a profound exchange of opinions on the state of affairs in the Middle East and North Africa with an emphasis on greater coordination of Russian-Arab efforts toward normalizing situation in the countries gripped by armed conflicts," she continued.

The sides will pay special attention to the conflict in Syria and political settlement in the country. As part of the meeting, Lavrov may brief his colleagues on the results of the January 23-24 reconciliation talks involving the Syrian government and the opposition in the Kazakh capital Astana.

The participants are also expected to discuss other pressing issues, including measures to counteract terrorism and extremism.

"Topical issues on the international agenda will be discussed in the collective format, including the fight against terrorism and the extremist groups in the region’s countries, perspectives for the Middle East settlement in the context of steps that are being made to resume the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue, as well as the creation of the WMD-free zone in the Middle East," the spokeswoman said.

The foreign ministers are expected to adopt a joint political statement after the meeting.

An agreement to create the Russian-Arab cooperation forum was signed in June 2009, when then president Dmitry Medvedev visited the Arab League headquarters in Cairo.

A memorandum on the issue was signed in December 2009. It envisages the development of cooperation between Russia and the Arab League in all spheres, including regular consultations on regional and global problems, cooperation with the UN and other international organizations and the development of economic cooperation, including with the support of the Russian-Arab business council.

The first ministerial level meeting of the Russian-Arab cooperation forum was held on February 20, 2013 in Moscow.

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