Moscow has received in a positive light an appeal from Yasser Arafat, head of the Palestinian national authority, to the Palestinian people to end all kinds of violent acts. As is noted in a statement by Alexander Yakovenko, an official Foreign Ministry spokesman, received by RIA Novosti on Monday, Arafat's plea is regarded in Moscow as a "step in the right direction aimed at ending all kinds of violent acts, including actions by suicide bombers, and an intention to punish their organisers". The document notes that "also unquestionable, in our view, is the argument that the only way of overcoming the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a cease-fire by both sides and an early return to the negotiating table". Moscow expects that following Arafat's statement the leadership of the PNA "will take additional effective and decisive measures to put an end to extremist attacks". In the view of Russia's Foreign Ministry, "it should, in particular, provide for the arrests of persons involved in terrorist acts, prevention of new crimes and elimination of terrorist organizations". At the same time, the statement stresses that "we urge the Israeli government to show restraint, give up raids into the territory of the PNA, and end extra-judicial reprisals". It is believed in Moscow that "this would enable the Palestinian leadership and Arafat personally to create conditions for carrying out his declared anti-terrorist measures". It is exceedingly important, in the Russian side's opinion, "finally to resume dialogue and coordination of efforts in the sphere of security between the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships, which could lead to the creation of pre-requisites for starting implementation of the Mitchell-Tenet scheme". "Russia is ready in every way to promote the realisation of these tasks, acting in coordination with the American co-sponsor, the EU, the UN and other parties interested in defusing the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and restarting the peace process", the document notes. To these ends Moscow will "continue active contacts with the Palestinians and Israelis and also with main mediators in the matter of settling the situation," the statement says.
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