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    BEIRUT, JANUARY 18 (RIA Novosti correspondent Konstantin Maximov) - The latest developments in the Middle East cause great concern, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Saltanov said as he spoke to this RIA correspondent upon completion of an official visit to the Lebanese capital.

    The senior Russian diplomat expressed regret that the Road Map had failed to be put into effect, describing this Mideast settlement plan as highly sensible and with no realistic alternatives. To make things worse, the Israeli-Syrian talks have been on hold for quite a while now, and Iraq remains unstable.

    All this adversely affects the situation in the region, undermining world security, Saltanov believes. In his opinion, the global community should now take active steps to get the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks back on track, with the Mideast Quartet - Russia, the United States, the EU, and the UN - taking on the lead role in mediating between the sides.

    The Israelis and the Palestinians will have to meet each other halfway for the violence to stop and the dialogue to resume, our interviewee said. They should overcome their controversies and begin to fulfill the commitments made under the Road Map - an international regulatory act endorsed by the UN Security Council.

    "We closely watch the developments in the Syria-Lebanon-Israel triangle," said the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister. He called on the conflicting sides to show restraint so as not to provoke further escalation of violence.

    According to Saltanov, his most recent talks with President Emile Lahoud and Michel Samaha, Acting Foreign Minister and Information Minister, indicate that the Lebanese leadership are determined to prevent further destabilization. The Russian diplomat hailed as a positive step Damascus' proposals to resume negotiations on the Syrian-Israeli track.

    It would be wise to respond to this signal by resuming dialogue, Saltanov pointed out. It is clear that stability can be achieved through dialogue, rather than threats and pressure, he emphasized.

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