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Lavrov opens first meeting of Council on Foreign Affairs

MOSCOW. July 20 (Interfax) - A council for international affairs has been formed and has started working in Russia.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov read out President Dmitry Medvedev's greetings at its first meeting in Moscow on Wednesday.

"We hope the Council will play the role of a generator of ideas on broadening ties between Russian experts in international affairs and their foreign partners, and help forge solutions to serious problems of international politics," Medvedev wrote.

The Council marks a new stage in the efforts to broaden the foreign policy process and involve civil society and experts in it, Lavrov said.

Foreign policy has long ceased to be the exclusive prerogative of diplomats and now involves academics and business people, he said.

Ex-foreign minister Igor Ivanov said that the Council must set itself the main task of shaping effective ties between representatives of various professional communities for the sake of fulfilling specific foreign policy tasks.

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