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Russian leader praises Annapolis meeting

MOSCOW, December 19 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin praised the U.S. leader for organizing an international meeting on the Middle East in Annapolis in November saying it was a positive example of considering others' interests.

The Washington-sponsored Annapolis meeting resulted in an agreement between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to resume peace talks stalled seven years ago and work out a peace treaty by the end of 2008.

"It is my strong belief that President Bush assumed a huge responsibility and heavy burden, for him personally as well, and I would like to congratulate him. I don't believe the risk was in vain," Putin said in an interview with U.S. Time magazine.

The Russian leader called the meeting a major step towards resolving one of the most acute and long-standing international issues and pledged that Moscow would continue to give its support to the peace process.

At the Annapolis conference Russia announced it was ready to hold the next Middle East meeting in Moscow. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said a schedule and agenda for the meeting still needed to be coordinated depending on progress between Palestinians and Israelis.

Putin, selected by Time as Man of The Year 2007, said interaction between Moscow and Washington on the Middle East peace process was a good example of the need to consider each others interests and those of other international parties.

The president pointed to talks on North Korea's nuclear program, which saw a major breakthrough this year when Pyongyang agreed to decommission its nuclear facilities in exchange for fuel aid and economic incentives.

He said the settlement had been reached through patience and consideration for each other's interests. Putin said such results were impossible when economic or political egoism dominates.

He said the idea of exclusiveness has been fostered in the public conscience of the United States. "It is likely that it has some basis because this is a historical phenomenon that a colony turns into a prosperous country over 250 years and one of today's clearest leaders. This testifies to a great deal - to the talent of the American nation, the optimal economic and political structures," Putin added.

But he said leaders have no exceptional rights only duties and often they lose their positions if they think the other way round.

He said inferiority and imposed discipline was only possible in relations between countries in the bipolar world, inside the blocs led by the United States on the one side and the Soviet Union on the other.

"But now that an overwhelming majority of international parties do not see the external threats that existed earlier, the tendency to dictate in international affairs meets resistance rather than understanding," Putin said adding that other communication tools and methods of tackling threats are in demand nowadays.

"The ability to compromise is needed today to be successful. And the ability to compromise with a partner is not only diplomatic politeness but also respect for their legitimate interests," the Russian leader said.

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