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    Lavrov: Arab countries should address issues independently

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    MOSCOW, June 29 (RIA Novosti) - Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that Arab nations should be able to address political and socioeconomic issues independently without external pressure.

    "President Vladimir Putin's visit to the Middle East [this May] showed that Russia is interested in further relations with countries and people of the region, and is ready to continue developing political dialogue and business and humanitarian ties in the context of friendship and mutually advantageous cooperation," Lavrov told Al Watan Al Arabi magazine.

    Lavrov is in Yemen to attend a session of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which Russia hopes to join as an observer.

    According to Lavrov, Putin's talks also indicated that Russia and the Middle East stand together or close on a series of major issues, including a new, more secure, stable and fair world order, the joint fight against terrorism, organized crime, drug smuggling, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and the peaceful settlement of conflicts.

    Lavrov said both sides realized that the world community had to eliminate poverty and other social problems breeding threats and challenges in the 21st century.

    Russia is in favor a fair and all-embracing peace in the region, achieved by political means, Lavrov said.

    He said a settlement between the Palestinians and the Israelis could only be achieved if both sides stick to the road map developed by the Middle East Quartet, which includes the UN, the EU, the United States and Russia.

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