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    MOSCOW, KIEV AGREE ON SCHEDULE OF EXPERT CONSULTATIONS

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    KIEV, April 13 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow and Kiev have agreed on a schedule of expert consultations concerning bilateral disputes.

    "Bilateral matters should be resolved promptly, for the benefit of the peoples of our countries and we have agreed on a schedule concerning such talks," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference in Kiev.

    He spoke about Ukraine as a good friend and neighbor as well as a leading partner in strategic security solutions in Europe and the Euro-Atlantic environment.

    Meanwhile, his Ukrainian counterpart Konstantin Grishchenko referred to an agreement on permanent contacts as being the crucial one. He reiterated that a series of talks to deal with Moscow-Kiev disputes have been mapped up.

    Sergei Lavrov also reported the addition of a hostages item to the agenda. "The Russian foreign ministry, the Russian embassy in Iraq and other structures have been dealing with the issue since yesterday night," said the Russian minister. Russian and Ukrainian officials in Iraq have been constantly in touch, he added.

    An understanding was reached Tuesday morning on Moscow-Kiev joint action to release hostages, said Grishchenko adding that details of setting free three Russians and five Ukrainians are yet unknown.

    "This situation is one more evidence of our countries being able to work promptly in situations affecting the interests of our citizens," he said. (kol/cor)

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