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Arab countries support Russia’s initiative to form anti-terror front, Lavrov says

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has thanked Arab counterparts for "the appreciation of Russia’s stance on the Middle East settlement"

ABU DHABI, February 1. /TASS/. Arab countries have supported the initiative put forward by Russian President Vladimir Putin to form a universal anti-terror front, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after the fourth session of the Russian-Arab Cooperation Forum on Wednesday.

Lavrov expressed confidence that the forum has established itself as an effective mechanism to boost multifaceted cooperation between Russia and the Middle East and North Africa, the Arab League becoming a useful platform for a fruitful dialogue on the most pressing regional and global issues.

"We discussed the situation in the region and noted the importance of improving the efficiency of the fight against terrorism. We are grateful to our counterparts from the Arab countries for supporting the initiative of (Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin to form a truly universal anti-terror front," the minister said.

Lavrov also said that Syria’s return to the League of Arab States would have helped joint efforts on the political settlement in the country.

"The fact that the Syrian government, a legitimate UN member, cannot take part in the Arab League discussions does not help our joint efforts. I think the Arab League could have played a more important role if the Syrian government was part of this organization," Lavrov said.

According to Russia’s top diplomat, the participants of the forum discussed the tasks facing the parties in resolving the crises in Syria, Libya and Yemen, stabilizing the situation in Iraq with the victory over the Islamic State (IS terrorist group, outlawed in Russia), and the current state of affairs in Sudan, Somalia and the Middle East settlement. "We support efforts in these areas, which will lead to the political dialogue, national accord and contribute to efforts aimed at resolving these conflicts without outside interference taking into account the interests of all population groups without exception - ethnic, religious and political - in each of the countries I mentioned," he emphasized.

Lavrov thanked Arab counterparts for "the appreciation of Russia’s stance on the Middle East settlement, including President Putin’s proposal on the Moscow, Russian platform for a direct dialogue between the Palestinian and Israeli leaders and the recent intra-Palestinian meeting in the Russian capital aimed at restoring Palestinian unity."