Old Saint Basil's Cathedral in MoscowJohnson's Russia List title and scenes of Saint Petersburg
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#7 - JRL 2006-145 - JRL Home
Iran, terror, drugs to top G8 foreign ministers' agenda June 29

MOSCOW, June 26 (RIA Novosti) - Foreign ministers from the world's wealthiest nations will gather in St. Petersburg Thursday to discuss the Iranian nuclear program, terrorism and narcotics, Russia's foreign minister said Monday.

The foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, Britain, and the United States will meet ahead of the Group of Eight summit to consider Iran's controversial nuclear research program, which Western nations suspect is being used as a cover for a weapons program. Iran has dismissed allegations, saying it needs nuclear research for energy.

Sergei Lavrov said the ministers would also consider the situation in other Middle East countries, including Iraq, as well as Afghanistan, Kosovo, and the Korean peninsula.

"Draft documents on these issues are virtually settled, but as the situation is changing they may be adjusted just before the meeting," Lavrov told President Vladimir Putin and the cabinet at a Monday session.

On terrorism and Iran, Lavrov said the ministers would consider ways of preventing terrorists from obtaining access to weapons of mass destruction.

"We are working on the idea of setting up an international center that would offer nuclear cycle services," he said.

Russia has proposed opening such centers worldwide as a way to resolve the crisis around Iran and to ensure nuclear non-proliferation.

Lavrov also said that an extended ministerial conference would be organized ahead of the foreign ministers' meeting to bring together representatives of 50 countries to discuss the fight against drug trafficking from Afghanistan, the world's leading drug producer.

The minister said he would meet separately with the foreign ministers of U.S., Italy, Germany, Greece and Turkey on the sidelines of the event.