According to the information reported on Saturday by the department of information and press of the Russian foreign ministry, on Saturday in the course of his telephone conversation with Yasser Arafat, head of the Palestinian National Authority, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov informed him that he dispatched Andrei Vdovin, his special representative on Middle East settlement, to the Middle East. The minister indicated that Vdovin left for the region to provide further assistance to overcome the critical situation in Palestinian-Israeli relations.
The Russian foreign ministry reported that "Igor Ivanov expressed his deep concern over the new outburst of violence in the region which may threaten the implementation of the "road map" of the Middle East settlement worked out by the four international intermediaries." It was stressed that Palestine had to resolutely curb terrorist acts, to expedite the unification of the security apparatus, to do its utmost to demolish the terrorist infrastructure. Moscow opined that "steps taken by the Palestinian government headed by Mahmud Abbas in that direction had to be constantly supported, including by Yasser Arafat." In his turn Arafat informed the Russian foreign minister of the present situation on Palestinian territories and drew his attention to the necessity of Israelis implementing their obligations under the "road map".
In his turn Ivanov stressed that the critical situation could be overcome only if all participating parties consistently fulfil their obligations under the "road map", if cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians in the area of security is restored and political dialogue is renewed. The minister believes that "there is no alternatives to the "road map"."
Rescuers found the pilot of one of the two Su-34 fighters that had collided in midair in the Far East on January 18