Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov is leaving for New York on Friday to take part in the "most important segment" of the 56th session of the United Nations General Assembly -- a general political discussion held at the level of state leaders and foreign ministers, official spokesman for the Russian foreign ministry Alexander Yakovenko told RIA Novosti. For the first time in many years, the discussion was postponed because of the September 11th terrorist attacks in the USA. The purpose of the general political discussion is to check the proximity of positions the world community holds on topical matters like strategic stability, equal security for all states, strengthening of the coordinating role of the United Nations in the effort to maintain international peace and security, and creation of proper conditions for steady development and prosperity of peoples. "Clearly, the main task of the session is to find a collective response to the unprecedented terrorist challenge," said Yakovenko. During the session, Ivanov will attend a series of multilateral events, including a special UN Security Council session on the anti-terrorist struggle, a conference of the 6+2 Group for Afghanistan at a ministerial level, a meeting with officials from the Latin American economic organisation MERCOSUR, and bilateral talks and meetings with Ivanov's foreign counterparts. One of the key items on the Russian minister's agenda is a traditional exchange of opinions on topical issues between ministers from permanent members of the UN Security Council and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Russia's position is that the UN must take urgent measures to create a global system responsible for counteracting new challenges and threats, international terrorism in the first place. "The United Nations is just the right forum to work out joint approaches to this task," stressed Yakovenko, adding that foreign ministry officials hold the UN as authoritative enough to organise a collective and all-round rebuff to terrorism on the solid basis of international law.
Near the United Nations Glass Palace in New York, there is a metallic sculpture entitled "Evil Defeated by Good", representing Saint George transfixing a dragon with his lance. It was donated by the USSR in 1990 to celebrate the INF Treaty concluded with the USA in 1987