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     04.04.2002

Transcript of Remarks by the Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov at a Joint Press Conference with the Moroccan Foreign Minister in Rabat, April 3, 2002

     First of all, I would like to thank King Mohammed VI of Morocco for the cordial welcome and hospitality extended to the Russian delegation. On behalf of President Putin of the Russian Federation I have conveyed his message to His Majesty Mohammed VI which expresses the commitment of the Russian Federation to promote friendly relations and cooperation with Morocco in all areas of mutual interest. The audience with the King and the negotiations at the Foreign Ministry have shown that there is, both in Moscow and Rabat, the political will to develop mutually beneficial partnership in the long term. Constructive interaction between Russia and Morocco, including the deepening of political dialogue, meets the interests of our countries. We reaffirm our readiness to strengthen coordination with Morocco in the international arena. The positions of Russia and Morocco are similar or identical on most international and regional problems.

     We have agreed to build up efforts to develop trade and economic cooperation. To this end an agreement was reached on an exchange of delegations of businessmen of the two countries. We have an opportunity to expand cooperation in other areas, for example, in culture.

     The situation in the Middle East as a whole and on Palestinian territories in particular, was at the focus of attention in the talks. The position of the Russian Federation is well known: we have actively supported Resolution 1402 unanimously adopted by the UN Security Council which calls for an immediate ceasefire, an end to violence and resumption of the search for a political solution of the conflict. Russia, together with the US, the European Union and the UN will seek immediate and full compliance with the provisions of that resolution.

     A new meeting of the UN Security Council is being convened today which will substantively discuss the issue of the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Palestinian territories. We hope that the joint efforts of the whole international community will be instrumental in securing effective compliance with Resolution 1402. All the five permanent members of the Security Council have voted for this resolution which mentions the Tenet Plan, the Mitchell recommendations and the mission of Anthony Zinni, that is, it mentions the names of three US representatives in the context of the steps required to settle the conflict. We maintain constant contacts with American and other partners in the search for a way out of the crisis. We are sure that the US should be interested in an early resolution of the conflict which threatens the whole region.

     From our point of view, Resolution 1402 is very clear and concrete. We believe that the task is to secure compliance with the resolution and not to adopt a new one. At the same time if the situation makes it imperative, a stronger version of the resolution may be considered. Yasser Arafat is the universally recognized and legitimate leader of the Palestinian people. We believe his participation in normalizing the situation is an important element in the search for a political solution. The isolation of Yasser Arafat, and attempts to destroy the structures of the Palestinian administration merely create additional difficulties for putting an end to the current tragic situation.

April 4, 2002



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