Russia comes out for "a genuine Iraqi settlement. The risk of aggravation of the situation around Iraq is still high enough. In this situation Russia has been making active efforts to prevent crisis development of the situation", Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Alexander Saltanov stated. He is taking part in the international Round Table meeting Russia-Iraq. Economic Cooperation. which is being held in Moscow. As the Russian diplomat said, a genuine Iraqi settlement must ensure an end to the Iraqi people's sufferings, removal of Iraq from international isolation, and restoration of its vote as a full and equal member of the international community. As the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs believes, an Iraqi settlement must envisage, on the one hand, establishment of international monitoring of Iraq's military programmes, and, on the other, a halt and subsequent lifting of the sanctions vis-a-vis Iraq. As the Foreign Ministry officials believe, it is also important to resume as quickly as possible the constructive dialogue of the Iraqi authorities with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, which must be held actively and in an intensive regime. Given such an option, it will be possible to achieve a genuine Iraqi settlement, Saltanov emphasized.
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