Talks herald new era of understanding

(China Daily)
Updated: 2007-02-15 07:10

NEW DELHI: The foreign ministers of India, Russia and China said greater cooperation between the three countries would promote international peace yesterday.

The officials also reached a consensus on trilateral co-operation on several important sectors.

Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, India's External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told journalists at the end of a 3-hour talk in the Indian capital that their consultations were aimed at promoting business, trade and energy security among the three countries.

Energy security figured prominently at the talks, with energy-starved India and China eyeing Russia's rich oil and gas reserves.

"We did talk about cooperation in the energy sector. All three economies are growing very fast and the potential for tripartite cooperation in trade and energy is vast," said Li.

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The "trilateral cooperation was not directed against the interests of any other country and was, on the contrary, intended to promote international harmony and understanding," the ministers said in a joint statement issued at the end of the talks.

The gathering marked the second time the foreign ministers of the three countries had met in the past two years. They last met in Vladivostok, Russia, in June 2005.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Hu Jintao held their first trilateral summit meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia in July.

The three ministers also discussed the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking, Middle East conflict resolution, the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan and the nuclear issues concerning Iran and Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

The three foreign ministers also emphasized their "strong commitment" to "multilateral diplomacy".

"India, Russia and China, as countries with growing international influence, can make substantive, positive contributions to global peace, security and stability," Mukherjee said.

They also called for regional conflicts to be resolved peacefully.

"We share the view that all regional conflicts should be resolved through dialogue and without confrontation," Lavrov said at the news conference.

Lavrov said cooperation "rather than confrontation, should govern approaches to regional and global affairs" with a greater emphasis on "democratization of international relations".

All three countries called for reform within the United Nations to allow the global body to more effectively tackle conflicts between and within states and the threat posed by international terrorism.

The three-way consultations between China, India and Russia were first proposed by Russia in 1996, and past meetings have focused on issues such as global terrorism, drug trafficking and energy security.

Bilateral talks

Also yesterday, Li Zhaoxing met with India's Prime Minister Singh, and the two discussed issues of mutual interest.

The meeting came a day after Li and his Indian counterpart Mukherjee agreed to set up a direct hotline between their offices in a bid to improve mutual trust. The hotline is listed in the 10-point plan that President Hu and Prime Minister Singh agreed upon last November to deepen the Sino-India strategic partnership.

Li started his four-day visit to India on Sunday. On Monday, he attended the opening ceremony of the memorial hall for Xuan Zang, a renowned Chinese monk who traveled to India more than 1,300 years ago to study Buddhism in Nalanda, in the northern state of Bihar.

Li also kicked off the China-India Friendship Year Through Tourism along with Mukherjee and India's Tourism Minister Ambika Soni yesterday.


(China Daily 02/15/2007 page3)

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