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    RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER MEETS AMERICAN SENATORS

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    MOSCOW, March 18, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Actually, American senators were not the first foreign delegation to be received by the new Russian Foreign Minister.

    In the beginning of the meeting, senator Trent Lott noted that he was pleased that American senators were the first foreign visitors of Sergei Lavrov in Moscow. "To be frank my first meeting was yesterday with the secretary of the Georgian Security Council," Lavrov said.

    Sergei Lavrov opened the meeting in English. After the first words, journalists asked him to "say at least something" through the translator. Lavrov said, now in Russian, that the Russian Foreign Ministry attaches much importance to the development of parliamentary contacts between Russia and the United States. Then they again spoke English.

    The Russian Foreign Minister noted that Moscow very much wants relations between Russian and American parliamentarians to develop upwardly. These relations can be an important element in the dialogue between the two countries, which is now held at the level of presidents and governments, as well as within the framework of other mechanisms, Lavrov said. He believes that parliamentarians can do an important share in the attainment of goals set by the two presidents in the interests of the people of Russia and the United States, world security, strengthening of contacts existing between Moscow and Washington.

    The American delegation, led by Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi, is made up of senators Jeff Sessions, Lamar Alexander, John Cornyn. The meeting was attended by Mikhail Margelov, head of the international committee of the Federation Council of Russia, and the United States Ambassador to the Russian Federation Alexander Vershbow,

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