“I sincerely welcome the participants of the summit of the League of Arab States. For Russia your organisation represents an important partner with whom we intend to intensify cooperation on a wide range of international issues ranging from overcoming the effects of the global crisis to broadening relations in the energy and humanitarian spheres.

We consider the memorandum on the establishment of the Russian-Arab Cooperation Forum, signed in December 2009, an important landmark along this path, and I am confident the Forum’s accomplishments will further enrich and expand our multifaceted ties.

We intend to continue to participate actively in collective measures designed to resolve regional problems in the Middle East and North Africa.

The swift settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict represents a priority issue for us. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a participant of the Middle East Quartet of mediators, Russia will continue to help restore dialogue between the parties based on the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, the Madrid principles, and the Arab Peace Initiative.

As part of these efforts, a ministerial meeting of Quartet members was held in Moscow on March 19, 2010. We note with satisfaction that its participants managed to agree on a number of provisions essential for relaunching Arab-Israeli negotiations.

Following the resumption of a sound peace process, we expect to convene an international conference on the Middle East in Moscow. This conference will be designed to give Palestinian-Israeli negotiations further impetus, as well as identify ways to resolve the situation with regards to Syria and Lebanon. We hope that Arab countries will actively facilitate the necessary conditions for holding this conference.

We believe that the Iranian nuclear issue should be resolved exclusively through political and diplomatic means in strict accordance with the UN Charter. We also believe that the introduction of sanctions is not an optimal strategy. At the same time, Russia cannot exclude the possibility of this development, yet we must clearly understand that such sanctions should be well-designed and not aimed at the civilian population of Iran.

We observe with satisfaction certain positive changes in the current situation in Iraq. In our assessment, dialogue between Iraq’s main political forces should and can establish the preconditions for sustainable normalisation in the country. We hope that the parliamentary elections [held on March 7] will represent an important step towards the consolidation of Iraqi society, as well as strengthening the country’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity.

Russia will continue to cooperate with all constructively-minded forces in Lebanon to consolidate progress achieved with regards to the improvement of the internal political processes in the country. It is important not to lose momentum and make sure that UN Security Council resolution 1701 is fully implemented.

Notable successes in Sudan are also visible. Together with Arab League member countries, Russia calls for an accelerated political settlement of the Darfur issue and will continue to actively participate in this process.

We are devoting attention to the stability in the Persian Gulf. To this end, Russia will continue to promote the idea of building a security system in the area involving all countries in the region and supported by other interested parties.

In conclusion I would like to emphasise that Russia is ready to further engage in joint multifaceted cooperation with League of Arab States members in order to consolidate international peace and stability.”