Russia, India, China propose drug security belts around Afghanistan

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Yekaterinburg/Moscow, May 15 (UNI) The Foreign Ministers of Russia, India and China at their trilateral meeting in the Russia's Urals city of Yekaterinburg today proposed to set up additional drug security belts around Afghanistan.

''During today's meeting we confirmed the need to fight terrorism and the drug threat. We support the international community's efforts to improve the situation around Afghanistan and believe that in addition to these efforts, the establishment of drug security belts around the country would be useful,'' Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters after holding talks with his Indian and Chinese counterparts, Pranab Mukherjee and Yang Jiechi.

The Ministers at their talks focussed on economic and military cooperation, touching on topical international matters, including the unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo, in February.

Lavrov said Russia, India and China insist that talks between Serbia and Kosovo, its breakaway province, should be resumed.

''Russia, India and China favour the resumption of talks between Belgrade and Pristina to reach a consensus between them on all problems relating to this Serb territory,''he said, adding ,''we believe the Kosovo problem should be resolved exclusively on the basis of international law.'' Lavrov reiterated Russia's position that Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence ran against UN Security Council Resolution 1244. Mr Mukherjee said the next meeting of the three Foreign Ministers would be held in 2009 in India. The date and venue will be decided at a later date.Tomorrow, they will be joined by their Brazilian counterpart Celso Amorim for an extended meeting within the quadrilateral framework of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China).

This is the seventh meeting of the Russian, Indian and Chinese Foreign Ministers within a trilateral format.

The first tripartite meetings were held during the sessions of the UN General Assembly in New York in 2003-2004, then in Alma-Ata at a meeting of Foreign Ministers of member countries of the Conference on Cooperation and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia in October 2004.

The first stand-alone meeting of the three Foreign Ministers took place in Vladivostok in June 2005. Foreign ministers of India, China and Russia Natwar Singh, Li Zhaoxing and Sergei Lavrov held another tripartite meeting in New York the same year.

In 2006, the tripartite contacts reached a higher level: the first top-level tripartite meeting was held in St Petersburg on July 17 at the G-8 summit. In February 2007, Lavrov and his Indian and Chinese counterparts Mr Pranab Mukerjee and Li Zhaoxing met in New Delhi.

The last meeting in trilateral format was held in Harbin (China) in October 2007.

UNI XC ARB RAI1904

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