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    RUSSIA STUDIES U.S. MIDEAST PLAN: FOREIGN MINISTER

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    PARIS, MARCH 5, RIA NOVOSTI - Russia is evaluating the USA's Greater Middle East plan, Igor Ivanov, acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, said to a news conference following one of the regular sessions of the Franco-Russian Cooperation Council. Today's session concerned security issues.

    When it comes to regional security, its problems must be tackled proceeding from the interests of countries in a particular area. Key security issues demand team efforts, emphasised Mr. Ivanov.

    President George W. Bush is expected to offer the plan to the nearest G8 summit, which is gathering, June next, in one of Georgia's Sea Islands, USA. The Greater Middle East plan envisages ambitious all-round moves for social and economic improvement in the powder-keg area, and resolute action to bridle local extremism. The plan promises generous economic aid to such Arab and other Muslim countries as have made the greatest headway to democracy. The programme has found approval in several European countries, and donations are to start even within this month.

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