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    ANNAN, LAVROV FOR RESUMING PEACE PROCESS IN MIDDLE EAST

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    MOSCOW, APRIL 5-( RIA Novosti) - UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan has urged the necessity of stopping violence and resuming the peace process in the Middle East.

    Following his talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, he told a press-conference in Moscow Monday that as regards the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the world community should above all cease violence.

    Kofi Annan referred to the recent session of the Four international intermediaries (the UNO, the European Union, Russia and the USA) which discussed steps required for the resumption of the peace process and negotiations.

    The Russian foreign minister agreed with the necessity of stopping violence and the urgency of seeking ways for settlement which was possible only on the basis of the road map.

    "Any moves should comply with the Road map and the international intermediaries are now busy consolidating the issue," said Lavrov.

    Touching upon the Cyprus settlement, Annan said that it was the people of the island who were to offer the last say.

    The Russian foreign minister made a similar remark about the need to wait for referendum results.

    "But no matter what results of the referendum will be attention to the Cyprus problem will hardly diminish," added the Russian minister.

    The sides are cooperating with the UNO in Cyprus settlement on a volunrtary basis, noted Kofi Annan. A session in New York on February 13 worked out an agreement and schedule on the further meetings. The most important item in this schedule, said Kofi Annan, is a meeting between the leaders of Greece and Turkey so that they might render assistance to the Greek and Turkish communities of the island.

    A referendum on the unification of the island to take place in April will clarify the moods of the people.

    Sergey Lavrov made a point of the UN secretary-general having always acted on the basis of UN resolutions.

    "But this does not mean that the secretary-general has no right to his own initiative which he has expressed by agreement with not only the two Cypriot communities but Turkey and Greece as well," concluded the Russian foreign minister.

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