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    RUSSIA, BRAZIL TO STEP UP BILATERAL COOPERATION WITHIN UN

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    MOSCOW, APRIL 7, 2004, RIA NOVOSTI - Russia seeks further consolidation of its relations with Brazil, and believes that they need to be brought up to a qualitatively new level, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a meeting Wednesday with Vera Pedrosa, Deputy Foreign Minister of Brazil, currently on a routine visit to Moscow.

    "We expect this visit to help raise the efficiency of [our] interaction in consolidating economic and trade relations and in boosting partnership in the international arena, at the level of the UN Security Council, with [both] Russia and Brazil among its members," the minister pointed out.

    President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to visit Brazil at the end of November. The Russian government hopes this visit will prove a significant step toward consolidation of the relationships between the two nations, Lavrov said.

    Ms. Pedrosa, for her part, pointed out that the Russian and the Brazilian governments hold identical or similar views on all major issues of world politics. She said Brazilian authorities were looking forward to Mr. Putin's visit this next fall and that they, too, were aware of the importance of bringing the two nations closer together.

    Later today, Ms. Pedrosa held consultations with Yuri Fedotov, a Russian Deputy Foreign Minister. Her counterpart said Russia would like to recommend to the United Nations that Brazil be made a permanent member of the UN Security Council, should a vacancy open up.

    The Pedrosa-Fedotov consultations focused on bilateral cooperation within the United Nations, primarily in its Security Council. Both sides stressed the necessity of a responsible approach to the reform of the UN structure, specifically, to the expansion of the Security Council. They agreed upon the need to consolidate the UN's lead role in international affairs and reiterated their willingness to contribute to the efforts toward raising the prestige and the efficiency of the UN Security Council as the foundation for the system of collective security.

    Pedrosa and Fedotov also spoke about the implementation of the Russian initiative to create, under the UN auspices, a global system for countering modern-day threats and challenges. They both pointed out the importance of the Council of Sages successfully completing its work. This group was set up by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, with the aim being to build up multilateral approaches in world politics under the aegis of the United Nations.

    The two officials discussed the UN's role in settling the armed conflicts in Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan, as well as in the fight against international terrorism. They paid particular attention to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and ways to have the sides implement the U.S.-sponsored "Road Map" for peace.

    The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister announced Moscow's intention to step up its counter-crisis efforts under the UN auspices.

    At today's consultations, Fedotov and Pedrosa reached an agreement on closer cooperation between Russia and Brazil in the United Nations and other international organizations.

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