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    NEW YORK, March 12, 2004. (RIA Novosti) -- On Thursday Russia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov, who is turning over his duties on his previous job of Russia's permanent representative to the United Nations, paid a visit to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

    In the course of the conversation Mr. Lavrov stated Russia's undeviating support of the central role of the UN in the system of international security.

    Mr. Annan told journalists after the meeting that "all who work in the UN headquarters will lack Mr. Lavrov." "He is a brilliant diplomat, an excellent professional with a fine sense of humor and keen wit," the Secretary-General noted. "He worked here for many years, and has very many friends here." Mr. Annan expressed confidence that Mr. Lavrov would display his best qualities on the new post. "We are lucky with such a Minister, who knows UN work and has a profound knowledge of the intricacies of multilateral cooperation," the Secretary-General said.

    Sergei Lavrov headed Russia's permanent representation to the UN for a decade. For many people in the East River he has become the "face" not only of Russia but also of the Security Council.

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