Moscow, Dec 20, IRNA-Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday said that an international conference, to be attended by Iran and Syria, should be held to solve the Middle East crisis.
Speaking to reporters, he said that a face-to-face meeting between the Zionist regime's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas can be effective in solving the Palestine crisis.
The Russian foreign minister noted that his country is prepared to help in arranging such a meeting.
Turning to negotiation as the only way to solve the Middle East problem, he said that isolation of any country will not lead to settlement of the issue.
Lavrov underlined that the presence of hardline and extremist forces of either side will make the crisis more complicated, adding that therefore rational and thoughtful negotiators should mediate.
Expressing concern over the current situation in Palestine and Lebanon, he supported the idea of formation of a national unified government by the head of Palestinian Authority.
Elsewhere in his press briefing, the minister called for a Middle East free from nuclear weapons and said, "This has been repeatedly underlined by Russia in the United Nations Security Council and other world bodies meetings.
He made the remark in response to a question about the Israeli officials constant visits to Moscow and their meetings with high-ranking Russian officials, which aimed to frighten Russia of a `nuclear Iran'.
Concerning the will of some Arab countries to possess nuclear power stations, he said that Russia is prepared to assist them with peaceful nuclear programs, provided they establish good relations with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and comply with NPT.
Meanwhile, Lavrov urged the need to strengthen NPT and declared Russia's readiness to cooperate with IAEA in strengthening the legal foundations of this treaty.
Moscow against using sanctions as a punishment element
Lavrov said on Wednesday that Moscow believes that sanctions should not be imposed on Iran as an element of punishment.
Talking to reporters, he said certain members of the UN Security Council are trying to replace the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with the Security Council with regards to Iran's nuclear program.
Those countries are trying to punish Tehran in the UN Security Council draft resolution on Iran's nuclear program, he added.
Lavrov further reiterated his country's opposition to a proposed travel ban on Iranian officials, saying, "Moscow views such a travel ban on Iranian officials as an attempt to introduce an element of punishment into the draft resolution".
The Security Council "should help unblock the negotiations with Iran and not punish Iran," Lavrov said.
Lavrov said that progress had been made in discussions on the proposed resolution in the UN Security Council.
Speaking to IRNA, Qin expressed his country's readiness to consolidate ties with Iran based on respect and mutual interests.
Relations and friendship between Tehran and Beijing have been growing in recent years, he said, adding that bilateral cooperation in trade and other economic activities are currently as a good level.
Asked about China's role as a permanent member of the UN Security Council in resolving international issues, including finding a solution to the Iran nuclear standoff, he said Beijing believes that Iran's nuclear case can best be settled through diplomatic and political channels or through negotiation.
He added that a peaceful solution achieved through such means can guarantee the interests of the two sides.
The spokesman also urged the UN Security Council to help find a peaceful solution to Iran's nuclear case.
He expressed hope the five permanent member states of the UN Security Council -- China, Russia, Britain, France and the US -- plus Germany (Group 5+1) would be flexible in their talks and continue their diplomatic efforts to settle the issue.
China is willing to play a constructive role toward settling Iran's nuclear dispute in an appropriate way, he said, adding that it believes all countries have the right to pursue nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
Asked whether the Zionist regime's nuclear arsenal poses a threat to the region and the world with recent remarks of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's implicitly admitting his country's possession of nuclear weapons, the spokesman stressed China has always been against proliferation of nuclear weapons in every way.
"Abuse of such concepts as democracy exists in Britain's black record and negative performance of the country and its procrastination in connection with Palestinian elections, victory of Hamas and other popular and political organizations in the region are clear examples of Britain's disbelief in the democratic process in the region," said Hosseini in a statement on Wednesday.
Hosseini said Blair's statements regarding formation of a coalition force are in line with the divisive policies of Britain in the region.
"The negative and divisive approach of Britain as well as unilateralism and war mongering policies of (the US President George W.) Bush and Blair account for tension and extremism in the region," noted Hosseini.
He said common interests and friendly bonds as well as peaceful coexistence of regional states are inseparable.
"Such claims will not have the least effect on fraternity, friendship and peaceful coexistence of regional states," he said.
... Payvand News - 12/20/06 ... --