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Moscow has to engage in ‘political demining’ in Middle East — expert

MOSCOW, February 21. /TASS/. Russia will have to engage in efforts to disentangle a mess of intertwined problems in the Middle East, Research Director of the Valdai Discussion Club Fyodor Lukyanov said in an interview with TASS.

"Only one work is in demand on a minefield - the work of a specialist in mine removal. You cannot build there, you can only defuse mines which had been planted. And this is exactly what Russia has to do - to engage in political demining," the expert said, commenting on the results of the Valdai Discussion Club’s Middle East Conference, headlined 'Russia in the Middle East: Playing on All Fields.'

"The problem is that those ‘mines’ are intertwined with certain ‘cords,’ so you cannot remove one without touching others," Lukyanov continued. "Therefore, Russia had achieved a very high level of international participation here in the past two or three years, which has its pros and cons."

Lukyanov said the Syrian issue dominated the conference, "because this is where the main events unfold."

"This is where all those cords lead. Therefore, if a successful model of settling the Syrian problem is found, it may become a general prototype for shaping relations in the region," he said.

The Valdai Discussion Club’s Middle East Conference took place in Moscow on February 19-20. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Syrian Presidential Advisor Bouthaina Shaaban, UN Deputy Special Envoy for Syria Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy, Egypt’s ex-foreign minister Nabil Fahmy and other high-ranking officials and experts took part in the debates.