Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, during their meeting in Shanghai, discussed the situation in the Balkans, a highly placed source in the Russian delegation said on Thursday. He said that Ivanov again emphasized Russia's principled position on the participation of Serbs in the forthcoming elections in Kosovo. Moscow believes it is very important to create normal conditions for the Serbian population's return to their land. In turn, Powell pointed to the importance of Serbs' participation in the election process. The parties discussed also Middle East settlement. They described the situation in the region as rather mobile. According to the source, both Russia and the United States pointed to the need to pool efforts to settle the Middle East crisis and reduce tensions on the basis of the Mitchell plan. Ivanov and Powell also pointed to the importance of the development of Russian-U.S. trade and economic relations, their investment cooperation, considering Russia's future joining the World Trade Organization, and the two countries' interaction within the APEC frameworks.
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