On Saturday, Federation Council chairman Sergei Mironov justified himself before the representative of Palestine for his refuse to meet with the leader of Palestinian Autonomy, Yassir Arafat during his recent visit to Israel. Mironov received Palestinian ambassador Hairi al Oridi. During the conversation at which measures for settling the situation in the Middle East were discussed, Mironov expressed his respect to Palestinian people and to the leader of Palestinian National Autonomy, Yassir Arafat, as well as his hope for his recent step would not worsen relations between him and Arafat and between Russia and Palestine. Mironov’s decision served “for interests of Russia, Israel and Palestine.” Palestinian side accepted the speaker’s explanation: “the incident with abolition of the meeting between Mironov and Arafat is settled” generously noticed Hairi al Oridi. According to the ambassador, now the possibility of the meeting between Mironov and Arafat is being considered. Palestinians, from their part, try to avoid artificial obstacles for Russian-Palestinian relations. Remember that the openly unfriendly gesture of the Federation Council’s speaker towards Yassir Arafat caused a great stir in the world, because such behaviour of the third person in the state, who said it was not the best time to meet with Arafat, which did not correspond with the state’s official course of foreign policy. The day before, the leader of Palestinian Autonomy phoned Vladimir Putin, wanting to know the President’s opinion on the settling in the Middle East and at the same time to make sure that Moscow’s position was the same. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov had to in detail explain that it was just Mironov’s personal initiative which did not signify Russia’s position on Palestinian-Israeli conflict had changed and that Mironov’s behaviour was simply caused by non-coordination between the Federation Council and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “The country to whose voice attention is paid cannot speak in different voices,” – Ivanov said to Mayak radio station, while answering puzzled questions of the radio listeners. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that it was necessary to take the most rapid measures to “secure constant cooperation with the Federal Assembly on foreign activities of the State Duma and of the Federation Council.” Some discussions appeared in the State Duma. Deputy of Regions of Russia faction, Viktor Alksnis proposed to Mironov to feel responsible and to send in his resignation. Though, Mironov was protected by LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky who one more time decided to show himself being oppositionist. As a result, the Duma did not second Viktor Alksnis’s initiative. At next sitting of the upper chamber, Sergei Mironov has certainly to listen to some unpleasant words. On Saturday, Mironov departed for Marocco to participate in the conference of Inter-Parliamentary Union. Here, Russia can be quiet for its image. At least, it is Marocco.
Sergei Yugov PRAVDA.Ru Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/03/16/38313.html