IN MOSCOW REPRESENTATIVES OF RUSSIAN AND FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTRIES PONDER IRAQ, MID-EAST SITUATION

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MOSCOW, November 3 (RIA Novosti) - At the political consultations in Moscow on Wednesday, representatives of the Russian and French foreign ministries discussed the situation in Iraq and the Middle East.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that, discussing the outlook for normalisation in Iraq, the two sides voiced concern over the complex situation prevailing in that country. They stressed the need for the reinvigoration of international assistance to the settlement of Iraq.

The sides also noted that the international meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, due to be held on November 23, is called upon to produce a positive effect on the developments in Iraq.

This goes, above all, to the holding within the set timeframe of direct democratic elections to the Interim National Assembly. In the opinion of Moscow and Paris, this will provide a new impetus in the solution of questions of rehabilitation of the Iraqi economy on a broad non-discriminatory footing.

Also, the sides minutely discussed the situation prevailing in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including in the light of the Middle Eastern plan of actions, now in development by the European Union. The common opinion was reached that the approval by the Israeli Knesset of the plan for division with the Palestinians, intending Israel's unilateral step-by-step withdrawal from the Gaza strip and four settlements on the West bank of the Jordan river, may play an important role in the rehabilitation of the peace process.

For that, the sides think that the plan should fit into the Roadmap, prepared by the Quartet of international mediators, which is the no-alternative platform for the movement towards ending the occupation of the Arab lands.

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