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     16.09.2002

     Unofficial translation from Russian

PRESS RELEASE
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Igor Ivanov Meets with Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Maher

     On September 14, 2002, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Igor Ivanov had a meeting with Ahmed Maher, the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs, in New York in the framework of the 57th session of the UN General Assembly.

     In discussing the situation in the Middle East, the sides expressed their serious concern over the continuing crisis around the Palestinian territories. They stated the unanimous view that it is necessary to take energetic measures to normalize the situation. The priority tasks in this regard are: cessation of terrorist acts, the lifting of the blockade, the withdrawal of Israeli troops, and improvement in the economic and humanitarian situation. An essential precondition for steady progress in these questions is restoration of the negotiation process and the determination of guidelines for the solution of the key aspects of a final settlement.

     Noting the great importance of the reforms being carried out by the PNA of Palestinian power structures, Ivanov and Maher spoke in favor of effective assistance in this process by the international community.

     They reaffirmed Russia's and Egypt's commitment to the goal of achieving a comprehensive Arab-Israeli settlement based on the Madrid terms of reference and UNSC Resolutions 242, 338 and 1397, as well as on the Arab peace initiative, put forward at the summit in Beirut.

     The sides spoke in favor of the expeditious settlement of the situation around Iraq by politico-diplomatic means on the basis of compliance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, envisaging, in particular, restoration of international disarmament monitoring in the country.

     They gave a high assessment to the state of bilateral Russian-Egyptian relations and reiterated their mutual desire to deepen the political dialogue and to increase mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields.

     September 15, 2002

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