Source Pravda.Ru

Russian PM to visit Israel and Palestine

Chairman of the Council of Federation international committee Mikhail Margelov intends to visit Israel and Palestine in September as a permanent reporter of the PACE political committee, he said to journalists on Monday.

A goal of the trip is to find out the circumstances in which the election campaign for head of the Palestinian autonomy will be conducted, he said. The elections are due in January, 2003.

"If the Israeli troops are still present in almost every town in the West Bank, and if the curfew remains imposed, the conduction of a normal election campaign" in Palestine will be impossible, Margelov said, when answering a RIA Novosti question.

The task of Europe and the USA is "to secure free, transparent, democratic elections of the head of the Palestinian autonomy under the supervision of Western observers," he stressed.

On Monday Margelov and other members of the Council of Federation met deputy speaker of the Israeli legislative assembly - the Knesset - Michael Nudleman and chairman of the Association for cooperation between the Council of Federation and the Knesset Yuri Stern.

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