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    RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER CALLS FOR IRAQ PEACE CONFERENCE

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    BEIRUT, September 5 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov again called for holding an international conference on Iraq. He made a statement to this effect at a press conference on Sunday during his ongoing visit to Lebanon.

    "We agreed that in the context of the current deterioration of the security situation in Iraq, the idea of holding an international conference on Iraq is one of just a few chances to mend the situation there," the Russian Foreign Minister said after his meeting with the Lebanese Minster of Foreign Affairs Jean Obeid.

    Sergei Lavrov also pointed to the UN as a key institution in settling international conflicts.

    "We both share a position that the problems of today should be invariably addressed on a multilateral basis, with the UN playing the key role," he said.

    Commenting on the Middle East problem, he said: "The solution to the Middle East problem can only be of a comprehensive nature and should embrace all aspects of the UN Resolution, including the Palestinian-Israeli settlement on the basis of the road map as well as the lingering problems on the Syrian and Lebanese directions."

    Sergei Lavrov pointed out that sovereign rights of every country in the Middle East, including Lebanon, must be properly honored without fail.

    "Russia as an active part of the quartet will consistently pursue this approach," Mr. Lavrov emphasized.

    The Russian Foreign Minister expressed his gratitude to the Lebanese leadership for the condolences extended in connection with the tragic events in Beslan.

    "The Russian delegation was deeply touched by the condolences expressed to us by our Lebanese friends in connection with the events in Beslan," the Russian Foreign Minister said.

    "Being a major part of the antiterrorist coalition, we confirm our determination to combat the evil of terrorism," stressed Sergei Lavrov.

    He pointed out that terrorism and other global threats and challenges facing the world community today are closely intertwined with regional conflicts, including the longest of the latter - the Middle East conflict.

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