The Russian Foreign Ministry (MID) press department reported today that UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy had announced that the UN children's fund intended to continue rendering assistance to the North Caucasus region in Russia, in particular, concentrating on Chechnya. Carol Bellamy met Foreign Minster Igor Ivanov and presidential envoy to the southern federal district Viktor Kazantsev during a recent trip to Russia. Both sides confirmed their readiness to further develop cooperation between Russia and UNICEF in the spheres of the social protection and health-care of children, as well as guaranteeing their rights. Bellamy also visited the North Caucasus and St.Petersburg, where UNICEF projects are successfully begin implemented. The Russian Foreign Ministry pointed out that a programme on cooperation between Russia and UNICEF for the 2003-5 period was currently being drawn up with due account of the country's priority tasks. MID also announced that Russia attached great importance to cooperation with the fund and would support it in the future.