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Annan: New Russian Foreign Minister A Professional

Annan Looks Forward To Working With New Russian Foreign Minister - Spokesman

Secretary-General Kofi Annan is looking forward to working with the Russian Federation's incoming Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, the country's former Permanent Representative to the United Nations who was appointed to the new post today, a UN spokesman said.

Mr. Annan, who has long known Mr. Lavrov, "has great professional respect for his competence as a diplomat," spokesman Fred Eckhard said at a press briefing in New York.

"Throughout the years they have known each other, the Secretary-General has also learned to appreciate both his wisdom and his wit and considers him a friend," he added.

Mr. Lavrov, who has been Russia's ambassador to the UN since 1994, was Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for two years prior to that date and served as Director of the Foreign Ministry's Department for International Organizations and Global Issues from 1990 to 1992.

Mr. Lavrov began his career in 1972, serving at the Embassy of the Soviet Union in Sri Lanka. From 1976 to 1981 he was with the Department of International Economic Organizations of the Soviet Foreign Ministry.

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