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    MOSCOW, March 18, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Russia and China have confirmed their commitment to further bilateral relations, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday at a meeting with special representative of the Chinese government and Deputy Foreign Minister Dai Binguo.

    The Russian minister reported that Moscow was happy with its bilateral ties in all areas.

    "We are satisfied with how friendly and specifically current issues are addressed, and how our countries are cooperating in international affairs in the interests of stability and international security on the basis of international law," said Mr. Lavrov.

    "Russian President Vladimir Putin has just talked to Chinese Chairman Hu Jintao on the phone. In their conversation, they confirmed their commitment to further consolidation of bilateral relations on the basis of the signed treaty and in line with all the available agreements," said Mr. Lavrov.

    I've been told that I am the first or the second foreign visitor you are receiving as foreign minister, said the Chinese guest.

    "The third one," Mr. Lavrov said. But three is a good figure, said Dai Binguo. And Mr. Lavrov concurred, "In Russia three is a lucky number." The first foreign visitor received by the Russian foreign minister was Secretary of the Georgian Security Council Vano Merabishvili.

    The Chinese guest joked about Mr. Lavrov's fame among foreign diplomats. I think you are the most famous foreign minister of Russia, he said. "Many have seen you on TV. And that is how I got acquainted with you," Dai Binguo said hinting at Mr. Lavrov's statements and speeches in the UN Security Council (he was earlier Russia's permanent representative in the UN).

    Dai Binguo conveyed congratulations from the Chinese Foreign Minister Zhaoxing Li on Mr. Lavrov's appointment.

    The Russian and Chinese foreign ministers know each other well after their interaction in the UN Security Council. According to the Russian foreign minister, he remembers his Chinese counterpart from their work in New York. "We worked well together when he was China's permanent representative in the UN," said Mr. Lavrov.

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