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MIDDLE EAST TOUR OF RUSSIAN SECURITY COUNCIL SECRETARY

RIA Novosti

MOSCOW, March 14 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov passed a message of the Russian President to Israeli Premier Ariel Sharon in Jerusalem on Monday, announced the press service of the Security Council.

"During the talks, the Russian and Israeli sides discussed issues of mutual interest," the announcement stated.

Russia and Israel expressed satisfaction with steady development of ties between the two countries, with intensification of political dialogue and expansion of contacts on all levels. The Russian side also expressed its desire to increase cooperation with Israel in a variety of spheres.

Igor Ivanov pointed out at the upcoming celebrations of the 60th Anniversary of the Great Victory in Russia. He announced that Israeli veterans would also participate in festivities in Moscow. Mr. Ivanov emphasized that the anniversary of the Great Victory was a common celebration aimed at reminding all people around the globe of the tragic past experience and strengthening our resolve to counter global threats and challenges of the 21st century by mutual efforts.

In addition, the sides discussed the situation in the Middle East. Mr. Ivanov called for mandatory implementation of the provisions of the "road map" and relevant UN resolutions in the settlement of Israeli-Palestinian conflict and emphasized the importance of continuing negotiations process between Israel and Palestine, including on the basis of agreements reached in February in Sharm-el-Sheikh.

Before coming to Israel, Mr. Ivanov visited Cairo, where he discussed Russian-Iranian cooperation in the sphere of nuclear energy.

"The programs, which Russia and Iran implement in the sphere of nuclear energy fully meet our international obligations and are closely monitored by IAEA," the Security Council press service quotes Mr. Ivanov.

Speaking about Russia's position on Iranian nuclear programs, Mr. Ivanov emphasized that Russia develops cooperation with Iran exclusively in the sphere of peaceful atom.

"In particular, we are close to completion of the construction of a nuclear power plant in Busher. This facility is closely monitored by IAEA and so far its inspectors have not presented any complaints. Last month, Russia and Iran signed an agreement on the return of spent nuclear fuel," Mr. Ivanov stated.

He reminded the journalists that Russia had always urged for strengthening the control over proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), including nuclear weapons. "We are against the possibility of nuclear weapons appearing in wrong hands," he said.

The Security Council Secretary underlined that "Iran had joined an Additional Protocol on IAEA guarantees, revealed all its previous nuclear programs and suspended the uranium enrichment programs."

"We welcome negotiations between Iran and the European "triad" (France, Germany and Great Britain). We believe that in the framework of negotiation process, the sides will eliminate the suspicions about Iranian nuclear programs," Mr. Ivanov concluded.



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