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Source: Russian Federation
9 March 2006



MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION

INFORMATION AND PRESS DEPARTMENT

_______________________________

32/34 Smolenskaya-Sennaya pl., 119200, Moscow G-200; tel.: (095) 244 4119, fax: 244 4112
e-mail: dip@mid.ru
, web-address: www.mid.ru


Unofficial translation from Russian

Transcript of Remarks and Replies to Media Questions by Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov Following Meeting with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, New York, March 8, 2006


Foreign Minister Lavrov:
At the meeting that took place with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, we discussed the main questions on the international agenda, which are one way or another related to UN activities or of concern to its member countries. We discussed the situation in the Middle East, including Palestinian-Israel relations, the tasks which we all placed before the Hamas movement after its victory in the Palestinian Legislative Council elections, the situation around Syria and Lebanon, and the problems of Iraq. We also discussed Kosovo settlement and affirmed the necessity to follow the principles which are laid down in the Resolution 1244 of the UN Security Council and in the decisions of the Contact Group.

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Question: Are you worried by the threat to use measures against Iran and the ensuing implications, of which Vice President Cheney warned? And regarding Syria and Lebanon. Do you think it is time Hezbollah laid down arms in the mainstream of UNSC Resolution 1559, and Syria ended its interference in the internal affairs of Lebanon?

Foreign Minister Lavrov: On the question of Iran. I would not comment on statements of representatives of other states. I answer for the position of Russia. It consists in adhering to the accords which were previously reached at the February meeting of the working group on Iran in London between the European trio, Russia, China and the US. Regarding Syria and Lebanon. We discussed this yesterday in Washington. I expressed my satisfaction with the confirmation of the information which we received. Ever fewer undesirable persons are penetrating into Iraq. We welcome this kind of development. I can also add that next week we will be receiving in Moscow the new Minister of Foreign Affairs of Syria, coming for a visit. We will discuss with him questions of implementation of the resolutions of the UN Security Council. We will express support for Syria's continued cooperation with the Brammertz commission. Such will be our position. Of course, we must be very cautious in discussing issues related to Syria as a whole so as not to get beyond what is contained in the resolution and not to use the resolution for political aims.

Concerning Hezbollah. Whatever information comes in - regarding attacks, violations, arms supply - we are ready to study it very carefully. Up to now we have heard that such things are happening. But until we have concrete evidence, we cannot comment on this. I, of course, would venture to assume that some day later, perhaps not so soon, we can return to the status of Shebaa Farms. This may be useful for clarifying the situation, including Hezbollah activities and the situation in the region as a whole.

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March 9, 2006

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