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"Everyone could get benefit from it..."

Chairman of the international affairs Committee of the Federation Council Michael Margelov delivered speech at the plenary session of the 2nd All-European economic summit devoted to the "hot spots" of Asia in Salzburg.

According to the correspondent of "Novosti" Russian news agency, Margelov stated that over-year long absence of stability in Afghanistan restrains the development of the whole Central Asian region. In his opinion Afghanistan holds a strategic place from the viewpoint of possible access to international markets of its neighbors, which enjoy rich energy resources, in particular Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. However, each time endless conflicts hamper the prospects of transport means construction.

Instead of promoting economic development the key location of Afghanistan has many times reasoned its involvement in this or that "big game". In XIX two empires conducted the game: British and Russian. At the end of XIX the country became the scene of almost open opposition of USA and Soviet Union. As a result the country faced destruction of economic potential, mass impoverishment accompanied by burst of extremism and step-by-step transformation of Afghanistan into a territory of unlawfulness, Margelov said.

According to him, it is obvious that stable peace in Afghanistan is the main precondition for any plans on energy resources transit through its territory. Everyone would get benefit from it; Afghanistan, which could gain workplaces and permanent source of incomes into the empty state treasury, and central Asian states aspiring to increase their export possibilities for further development, and Russia interested in market stabilization of the countries neighboring to its southern borders, and US aspiring to ensure its interests there. Today the world community has a real chance to take lessons from the past.

As to the development of situation in Near East, the Russian senator stated that from the beginning of this year the escalation of violence reached its peak in the Near East. Unfortunately, the only way out is to ascertain that Israeli and Palestinian people have no other way to conduct talks but the one under outside pressure.

Michael Margelov considers that the US administration, which continues preparation to power actions against Iraq, aspires to assure its definite freedom of maneuver in the region, which is possible only under the condition of at least neutrality of key Arabic countries.

It is natural that co-sponsors of the peaceful settlement could and should support any initiatives aimed at ceasing violence in the region. This is the essence of their activity. Thus, Russia as well as UN and European Union act this way. However co-sponsors should not allow new initiatives and mediating missions to become just camouflages, the Russian senator underscored.

One of the most important conclusions that can be drawn from foreign policy experience of Russia during the last years is that Russia does not want any confrontation. Today negotiations are conducted; search of similar interests is carried out in the aspects, which earlier supposed to be solved by force methods.

"Novosti" Russian news agency

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