The Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell have exchanged opinions on the situation in the Middle East and Afghanistan, according to Mr. Ivanov who spoke following a meeting with his American counterpart. The meeting lasted for about one hour, twenty minutes of which the two officials spoke tete-a-tete. Both Moscow and Washington are concerned about recent developments in the Middle East. "The situation there has reached a critical point. Our task is to prevent the worse scenario from unfolding," said Mr. Ivanov. According to him, it is difficult, but necessary to continue looking for a political resolution. Only a political decision, Mr. Ivanov stressed, can create conditions for crisis settlement. "We will continue coordinating our efforts in regard to this issue," Mr. Ivanov said. He highlighted that Russian and American representatives were currently present in the region and work in close cooperation with each other and the European Union.