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    KOFI ANNAN HOLDS CONSULTATIONS IN MOSCOW

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    MOSCOW, APRIL 5- (RIA Novosti) - UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's consultations with the Russian leadership have always been of a regular, traditional and confidential character and these traits are being demonstrated this time as well, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Monday following talks with Kofi Annan.

    "The Russian leadership believes that a world without the UNO would be confronted with a great deal more challenges and it is in this light that sporadic criticism against this organisation should be seen," said Lavrov.

    We discussed with Annan UN efforts in a bit to improve the situation in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo and many other critical situations, said the minister. Special attention was paid to the Middle East and the necessity of a complex settlement of conflicts and support for the regional countries in their drive to abate the tensions," he said.

    "We shared the opinion that there should be a comprehensive aptitude toward new threats and challenges," said Lavrov.

    The Russian minister made a point of terrorism turning into Number One enemy of all mankind.

    For his part, the secretary-general noted that Russia was prepared to be active in all international affairs and made the statement that the UNO did everything possible to form an Iraqi government which could determine the country's future. "We are calling upon all the sides to support relevant UN efforts, said Kofi Annan. A UN group is now in Iraq to find best ways of transit toward a new government.

    Sergey Lavrov insisted on the necessity of guaranteeing the sovereignty of the Iraqi people.

    If asked what should be done, one has already now a clear-cut answer: to ensure the sovereignty of the Iraqi people and the UNO's central role in political settlement in Iraq, said Sergey Lavrov.

    Of all the meetings in Moscow, Kofi Annan particularly appreciated that with President Vladimir Putin.

    I'll leave Moscow with the firm conviction that Russia and the UNO are partners and we share the position on most international problems, stressed Annan.

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