Russian foreign policy
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     14-12-2004

Results of the Forum for the Future in Rabat

On December 11 the inaugural meeting of the Forum for the Future was held in Rabat (Morocco) by decision of the heads of state of the Group of Eight nations and in accordance with the initiative of the Sea Island Summit to promote partnership with the Middle East and North Africa region. The Russian side was represented at the meeting by Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin and Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Saltanov.

In the course of the meeting, which was held at the level of foreign and finance ministers with the participation of representatives of a number of international and regional organizations, the participants reviewed ways of promoting dialogue with the broader Middle East countries and rendering them practical assistance in addressing the far from easy problems facing the region.

The Russian side was striving to make sure that this dialogue was conducted on the basis of respect, without any pressure or intervention in the internal affairs of the countries of the region and with due regard for the wishes of those nations themselves. Emphasis was laid on the need to settle acute problems, such as the Arab-Israeli conflict and the crisis in Iraq.

The Forum approved a number of projects aimed at eradicating illiteracy, improving the investment climate, broadening support for small-scale entrepreneurship and promoting dialogue in the sphere of democracy. The Moroccan hosts released a concluding statement. Decision was taken to convene a meeting of the education ministers of G-8 and the countries of the region in the first half of 2005. Egypt reiterated its readiness to host a meeting of the foreign ministers of G-8 and the Arab League in March 2005. The Forum will next meet in Bahrain in November 2005.

December 14, 2004

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