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Lavrov urges Middle East conference in Moscow

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Russian foreign minister said Moscow was ready to host a Mideast peace conference this summer and urged the parties to reach an agreement on the event.
LONDON, May 2 (RIA Novosti) - Russian foreign minister said Moscow was ready to host a Mideast peace conference this summer and urged the parties to reach an agreement on the event.

"We are convinced that this should be done without further delay," Sergei Lavrov told reporters on Friday following a ministerial meeting of the Middle East Quartet in London.

The minister added that although Israel "had doubts that this should be done quickly and believe that further consideration is needed," the European Union, as well as the UN and U.S. "view this idea positively."

Russia, a member of the quartet of Mideast mediators, has offered to host a conference in Moscow as a follow up to last November's U.S-sponsored meeting in Annapolis, Maryland.

Russian President Vladimir Putin first voiced the idea of holding a Moscow Mideast peace conference in 2005, and received the backing of several Arab countries prior to Annapolis talks.

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