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Prime Minister of Israel to meet Russian leadership on Monday - 30 September, 2002

On Monday, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel who arrived in Moscow the day before is to meet the Russian leadership. A meeting between Sharon and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Igor Ivanov will take place in the afternoon.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Alexander Saltanov said that the Israeli Premier's talks in the Russian capital would be devoted to the efforts being made to stop the escalation of tension in the Middle East. "Russia is concerned about the developments in this region in connection with the growth of tension on the Palestinian territories," he noted. The further "heating" of the situation not only threatens regional security but is also fraught with destabilisation of the situation in other regions of the world, Moscow believes.

The talks with the Israeli Premier are an important component of Russia's efforts to stabilize the situation in the Middle East. Russia's active contacts with Israel, as well as with the Arab states, are aimed at putting the Arabo-Israeli conflict into the political settlement channel as soon as possible.

By Moscow's estimate, the process of reform of the Palestinian structures has been gaining momentum. But the problems of terminating violence, lifting the blockade and restoring the political process are, as before, the obvious priority. In Moscow they hold the view that each of the parties in the conflict must cover its part of the way to normalisation of the situation and restoration of the negotiating process.

The Russian side also intends to set forth Russia's stand of principle on terrorism, making emphasis on the necessity to work for settling the conflicts existing in the region. In Moscow's opinion, these conflicts "objectively fuel the activity of extremist forces banking on violence."

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