Russian Representative to Palestine Sergei Peskov delivered a letter to Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat from Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday. According to Palestinian information agency VAFA, Peskov met with Arafat at Arafat's residence in Ramalla. They touched on questions of the Russian position on the Palestinian territories and efforts undertaken by Russia to realize the so-called Roadmap to peace plans. Arafat told Peskov about the difficult position of the Palestinian people as a result of the continued violence from Israel. Arafat emphasized the construction by Israel of a separating wall and called it 'racist.' Speaking to journalists after meeting with Peskov, Arafat called on the world community and the 'four mediating countries' in the conflict with the requirement to urgently put pressure on Israel and insist that it stop construction of the wall. He likened this activity by Israel 'as undermining the peace process in the Middle East.'
The Ilyushin 20 (Il-20) military electronic reconnaissance aircraft of the Russian Air Force with 14 servicemen on board that went off radar screens off the coast of Syria was shot down by Syrian air defense systems over the Mediterranean Sea