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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

PUTIN: IRAQI ELECTION - HALLMARK IN POLITICAL SETTLEMENT PROCESS

RIA Novosti

MOSCOW, March 22 (RIA Novosti) - Russia assumes the Iraqi election proved to be an important event in bolstering the political settlement process despite the harsh conditions it had been held in, reads the address by Russian President Vladimir Putin to participants in the Arab summit meeting in Algeria. Putin congratulated them on the 60th anniversary of the League of Arab States (LAS), the presidential spokesman said.

"We hope that the new government formed by parliament will be able to win the trust and support of most Iraqis. To this end, steps to rebuild Iraq's legitimate authorities should be complemented with launching a large-scale intra-Arab dialog aimed at national reconciliation and consensus. For our own part, we are ready to do our utmost to facilitate that in close cooperation with our Arab partners," the address reads.

Putin reaffirmed the unwavering intent of Russia to step up comprehensive cooperation with LAS and beneficial bilateral cooperation with all of its participant nations to promote peace, security and steady development.

Russia, in cooperation with the quartet of international intermediaries, is ready to keep on being proactive in implementing agreements aimed at pursuing the "road map" in earnest and leading to establishment of an independent democratic viable Palestinian state coexisting with Israel in peace and security, Putin noted in his address.

"The comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict is impossible without resuming the drive towards peace between Israel, Syria and Lebanon on a solid international law basis, including the Beirut peace initiative by the LAS. It is important for the promising trends in the Israeli-Palestinian affairs not to be ruined by new hotbeds of tension in the area, including an escalation of the conflict in Lebanon and the situation with Syria. The steps being taken by the Syrian leadership in coordination with Lebanon to fulfill the Taif Agreement, UN Security Council Resolution 1559 and other relevant UN resolutions and, thus, improve the situation in the region, the address stresses.

Russia has been watching closely the dynamic sequence of events in the region.

"The democratic election in the Palestinian territories in January 2005 and the ensuing summit meeting in Sharm al-Sheikh served the fertile ground for resuming the political process between Israelis and Palestinians," the address reads.



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