Russian, French ministers to discuss Libya, Syria, missile defence, EU, NATO

MOSCOW, September 5 (Itar-Tass) —— The Russian and French foreign and defence ministers will gather in Moscow on Wednesday, September 7, to discuss the situation in Libya and Syria, missile defence, and Russia’s dialogue with the European Union and NATO.

The meetings between Foreign Ministers Sergei Lavrov and Alain Juppe, and Defence Ministers Anatoly Serdyukov and Gerard Longuet will meet within the framework of the bilateral Security Cooperation Council.

In the light of cooperation between Moscow and Paris in the United Nations and the Security Council, the sides will discuss “the state of affairs in the area of pan-European cooperation with a focus on the Russian president’s initiative to sign a legally binging European security treaty, missile defence and Russia’s partnership with the EU and NATO”, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Monday, September 5.

The ministers will also touch upon the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, including Libya and Syria. “Escalation of tensions in the region has raised many questions. In the dialogue with the French partners it is important to clarify what our countries, as permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, are ready to offer jointly to the international community as the best recipe for the resolution of such crises,” he said.

Iranian and North Korean nuclear files will also be discussed. “Russia and France have largely identical positions on these issues. However, there are certain discrepancies. And we are interested to clarify where our interests differ, especially in the light of the upcoming discussions at the 66th session of the U.N. General Assembly,’ Lukashevich said.

The sides will also discuss Palestinian-Israeli settlement. Moscow believes that “progress in this process is expected by the international community, and we hope to outline our coordinated actions in contact with our French partners,” the spokesman said.

The foreign and defence ministers will synchronise their approaches towards peace process in Afghanistan, and considers ways to settle the situation in Kosovo, Transdniestria, and Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Russian-French Security Cooperation Council was created in 2002 by the heads of state, and its meetings are held regularly once or twice a year. The latest round of talks took place in Paris on September 7, 2010.

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