ARAB WORLD EXPECTS FROM RUSSIA A CLEARER, FIRMER POSITION ON MIDEAST PROBLEMS

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BEIRUT, September 2 (RIA Novosti's Yulia Troitskaya) - The Arab world expects from Russia a clearer and firmer position on regional problems, Lebanese political scientist specializing in international relations Tony Francis told RIA Novosti in an interview shortly before Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's visit to the Middle East slated for September 3.

"Russia is a great power. The problem is the lack of a firm position on the crucial problems of the Mideast region," Francis said.

"The Arab world expects Russia to play a larger role. In the times of the Soviet Union, Russia was for many years one of the main characters as regards the Arab-Israeli conflict," he added.

"Now, Russia, which is one of the eight industrialized countries and a member of the United Nations Security Council, is to maintain a balance in the region to offset the one-sided policy of the United States," Francis said.

He stressed that the Arab world does not want Russia to send a force to the region because the "main weapon now is a thought-out and consistent political position."

In the opinion of the Arab political scientist, Russia stands a good chance of producing an influence on the regional developments.

"Arabs traditionally place trust in Russia. They are more and more fixing their gaze on Russia as the only state capable of voicing a position unlike American. This is why they expect Russia to be an active player on the Mideast arena," the Lebanese political scientist concluded.

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