Russian FM does not Plan to Go to Middle East Summit
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov does not plan to attend the emergency Middle East summit in Egypt, the chairman of the Duma's foreign affairs committee said Saturday, Interfax reported.
Dmitry Rogozin, speaking after a meeting with Ivanov, said the foreign ministry had no new information and they were increasingly surprised at media reports that Ivanov would attend.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said Saturday that Russia wanted to send its foreign minister to attend the talks that have been called for Monday in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
But Rogozin, a pro-Kremlin deputy in Russia's lower parliamentary chamber, said his personal opinion was that Russian participation was undesirable.
"The United States is pushing the issue in view of the upcoming (US presidential) elections," he said.
The US had been following a "policy of exclusion" vis-a-vis Russian participation in the peace process and thus held "full responsibility" for any breakdown, he added.
But a ministry spokesman told AFP that Ivanov had asked that the two co-sponsors of the peace process -- Russia and the United States -- take part.
The summit would have a greater chance of success if both the US and Russia were involved, the spokesman said.
"Russia is offering to participate but is not insisting," he added.
Ivanov, just back from a trip to the Middle East, said he had been asked by President Vladimir Putin to "urgently prepare solutions to the crisis."
However, the Ria Novosti agency quoted the Russian foreign ministry as saying Ivanov had not even been invited, despite reports an invitation had been dispatched by Mubarak – MOSCOW (AFP)
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