Russia, China to cooperate on Middle East, North Africa

Russia and China have agreed to cooperate in Middle East and North African issues, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday.

Moscow: Russia and China have agreed to cooperate in Middle East and North African issues, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday.

"We have agreed to coordinate our actions using the abilities of both states in order to assist the earliest stabilisation and prevention of further negative unpredictable consequences there," Lavrov said after a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi.

Lavrov also said Russia and China`s positions, as well as the UN`s, are based on the principle that "every nation should determine its future independently without outside interference".

The Russian minister reiterated the strong condemnation of a possible ground military campaign in Libya.

Jiechi also said China strongly opposed any exercise of force and was deeply concerned by the situation in Libya.

Both ministers` statements came in the wake of recent rumours that NATO allies were preparing to unleash a ground campaign in Libya.

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution imposing a no-fly zone over Libya March 17, paving the way for a military operation against embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi which began two days later. The command of the operation was shifted from a US-led international coalition to NATO in late March.

Public protests in the Middle East and North Africa have recently ousted regimes in Egypt and Tunisia, and led to a civil war in Libya, with protests continuing in Syria and Bahrain.

IANS

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