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Transcript of Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov Remarks at Press Conference Following Talks with Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdelaziz Belkhadem (Moscow, April 23, 2003)


Foreign Minister Ivanov: We have had meaningful talks. We are for the further development of bilateral relations on the basis of the Declaration on Strategic Partnership, signed in 2001 by the presidents of the two countries. Both sides are interested in seeing the partnership realized in various fields. We are developing and maintaining a continual vigorous dialogue, in particular, in the economic field. We have agreed to promote the holding of a meeting of the intergovernmental commission on trade-and-economic cooperation in the middle of this year in order to consider the possibilities for the further development of our trade-and-economic ties.

We examined a number of international problems. Russia and Algeria are supportive of the formation of a multipolar, safe and equitable world order, and our countries stand for the strengthening of the role of the UN and international law in dealing with major international problems. It is from this vantage point that we view the issues of postwar settlement in Iraq, and the situation in the Middle East. We have agreed to coordinate further our efforts on the international scene.

Question: Russia has made known its readiness to join multilateral talks on North Korea's nuclear problem. When will Russia participate in these talks? In case of failure of talks on the North Korean nuclear problem, is North Korea in for the Iraq scenario?

Answer: Russia has always favored a political resolution of the situation on the Korean peninsula. The main thing is that this resolution should be carried out through dialogue. The format of this dialogue is up to the contracting parties. We welcome the start of consultations in Beijing. If positive accords are successfully reached, we shall welcome it. If, however, at this or that stage the parties decide that Russia's participation is required, Russia will be ready for that.

Question: During the talks with the head of the Algerian MFA, was the date of the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Algeria discussed?

Answer: The invitation to President Putin was conveyed during the visit to Moscow of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in April 2001. This invitation was accepted with gratitude. With regard to the visit date, it will be considered taking into account the possibilities of both sides.

Question: How will you comment on the US charges against Syria?

Answer: Diplomatic relations exist between Syria and the United States. Any concerns should be removed precisely within the framework of these relations. A policy of threats, especially without submitting any concrete evidence, may complicate the already tense situation in the region.

April 23, 2003

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