Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov met his Syrian and Jordanian counterparts Faruq Al-Shara and Abdel Khatib, Arab League Chief Amr Musa and EU Special Envoy for the Mideast settlement Miguel Moratinos in New York. They focused on the Mideast settlement and Iraqi problems. Ivanov and Moratinos pointed out the necessity to ease tension in the Middle East and to do everything possible to implement the Mitchell plan, Alexander Yakovenko, the official spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, told journalists. In addition, they pointed out the importance of international assistance in the conflict settlement and noted joint actions of the Russian and US co-sponsors, the EU and the UN. Ivanov and Khatib spoke out in favour of resuming negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians on the basis of the Mitchell plan. They assigned priority to direct contacts between Israeli and Palestinian leaders and to the necessity of Palestinian-Israeli stable security cooperation. Khatib stressed the importance of Russia's role in establishing a peace process and overcoming the confrontation. As regards the situation around Iraq, the sides pointed out the necessity to settle the Iraqi problem. They believe it would consolidate stability and security in the region on the whole. Igor Ivanov and Arab League Chief Amr Musa opposed identifying terrorism with religion only and spoke out in favour of political settlement in Afghanistan as soon as possible. They pointed out the need for active participation of all sides in the crisis settlement in Palestine and the early implementation of the Mitchell plan. The Russian and Syrian Foreign Ministers pointed out the importance of the Arab-Israeli settlement in all spheres stressing the non-admissibility of the confrontation expansion. They stressed the necessity to develop a complex counter-terrorist strategy aimed at uprooting terrorism and providing for upgrading the international law in this sphere.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea
President Vladimir Putin has not released an official statement yet about his position on the issue of the pension reform in Russia