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Acting President Vladimir Putin attended a foreign ministers' meeting of the Multilateral Steering Group of the Middle East Peace Process

February 1, 2000, President Hotel, Moscow

The Middle Eastern problem features prominently in Russia’s foreign policy, Mr Putin said when addressing the meeting.

In his opinion, at present the world has a chance to put an end to a half-century Arab-Israeli strife and to promote relations based on mutual trust, respect and equality.

Mr Putin said he hoped that the work of the Steering Group would reinvigorate full-scale talks on the Middle East problem and the peace process to stabilise the situation in the region and establish a collective system of security and cooperation.

The meeting was attended by Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, foreign ministers of Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Canada, high representatives of the Palestinian National Authority, Japan, the European Union, China, as well as Switzerland, which is monitoring the cultural aspects of the peace process. Knut Vollebaek, the foreign minister of Norway, which chaired the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee on Assistance to the Palestinians, attended the meeting as a guest.

February 1, 2000, President Hotel, Moscow