Sunday, December 23, 2007

Russian foreign minister begins visit to Libya

23/ 12/ 2007

MOSCOW, December 23 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov begins on Sunday his two-day working visit to Libya to discuss closer bilateral cooperation, regional and international issues.

Lavrov will hold talks with his Libyan counterpart, Abd al-Rahman Muhammad Shalgham.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin earlier said it was important for both countries to "focus on tapping the impressive potential of cooperation in the oil and gas sphere," adding that Russia's companies Gazprom and Tatneft have launched the development of oil fields in Libya.

Kamynin said Russia and Libya were also coordinating projects in the electric power sector, pipeline transport, housing construction and railway infrastructure with Russia's participation, adding that Russia was ready to contribute to the implementation of Libya's right to civilian nuclear power.

"We are ready to assist Libya in the implementation of its inalienable right to the benefits of civilian atomic energy," Kamynin said.

Kamynin said the Middle East would be on the agenda and added that Russia and Libya were against "new violence in the region".

He said Iraq was also set to be discussed, "Together we call for maintaining territorial integrity in the country, full reconstruction of the sovereign rights of the Iraqi people, and nationwide reconciliation in Iraq."

Africa will also be on the agenda, "African issues, including the Darfur crisis, will be given proper attention."

He also said new challenges and threats will be discussed focusing on world community efforts to counter terrorism.

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