Firsthand information from the Middle East is vital for Russian evaluations of the developments and for Moscow to see what it can do to promote settlement, said Igor Ivanov, Russia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, as he was opening Moscow negotiations with Nathan Sharansky, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Construction. The talks are part of permanent Russo-Israeli contacts, added Mr. Ivanov. The negotiators intend to take stock of the current situation and blueprint ways to cope with the Mideastern danger. Russia has always been working for settlement in the Middle East, stressed the Russian minister as he highlighted unbroken contacts with the Israeli top and the Palestinian Authority for the greatest possible assistance to the peace cause now that tensions are mounting again in that part of the world. Moscow is fully aware of how involved Mideastern problems are, said Igor Ivanov, and pointed out constant partnership of Russia and the USA as Mideastern peace co-sponsors, and Russia's teamwork with other European countries.
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