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    LEBANESE FOREIGN MINISTER ON RUSSIA'S SPECIAL ROLE IN MIDEASTERN SETTLEMENT

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    BEIRUT, March 17, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Congratulating Vladimir Putin on his reelection, Lebanese Foreign Minister Jean Obeid pointed out Russia's special role in Mideastern settlement, Lebanon's Foreign Ministry told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.

    "Our state is striving for more consolidation of bilateral relations [with Russia]. Russia is playing a special role in peaceful settlement in the Middle East," Obeid stressed.

    Lebanon welcomes Vladimir Putin's victory in the presidential elections, he said. "It shows that Russian people support your democratic reforms," he noted.

    Obeid also congratulated his former counterpart Igor Ivanov appointed Russian Security Council Secretary. Jean Obeid wished him success in his new job and highly assessed his former achievements in the international scene.

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