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Source: Russian Federation
27 October 2005



MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION

INFORMATION AND PRESS DEPARTMENT

_______________________________

32/34 Smolenskaya-Sennaya pl., 119200, Moscow G-200; tel.: (095) 244 4119, fax: 244 4112
e-mail: dip@mid.ru
, web-address: www.mid.ru


Unofficial translation from Russian
PRESS RELEASE

Visit to Israel of Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov



From October 26 to 27, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov was in Israel on a working visit. He had conversations with Israeli President Moshe Katsav, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Senior Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom.

The focus of the thorough talks was an exchange of views on the situation in Palestinian-Iranian relations after Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and a part of the West Bank and on the prospects for advance towards a final and comprehensive settlement.

Lavrov gave a high positive assessment to Israel's actions concerning the withdrawal of its troops and settlements from a part of the Palestinian territories and emphasized the potential of this step as the prologue to a long-term and just settlement on the basis of the Road Map. To achieve this goal, the Russian minister noted, it is necessary to restore trust between the leaderships of Israel and the PNA as quickly as possible and to arrange effective cooperation between the parties in carrying out the accords reached at the summit in Sharm el Sheikh in February 2005, devoting priority attention to the coordination of actions in the field of security.

Movement towards peace will acquire a steady character if the Israelis and Palestinians consistently abide by the provisions of the Road Map for Middle East settlement, which suggests the shortest way to an ultimate goal, that of creating an independent and viable Palestinian state coexisting in peace and security with Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and the other Israeli interlocutors presented their vision of the situation in Palestinian-Israeli relations. There was expressed readiness on the Israeli side to advance towards settlement based on the Road Map, and the useful contribution of Russia to establishing a lasting peace in the Middle East was noted.

The participants in the talks agreed that an absolute necessity is the resolute and uncompromising counteraction against terrorists and extremists nurturing plans of scuttling the peace process. In this context Sergey Lavrov and his Israeli interlocutors noted the importance of continued democratic reforms in the PNA and of holding Palestinian Legislative Council elections within scheduled time limits.

In the course of the talks some other aspects of the regional situation were touched upon. An exchange of views on the situation around Syria and Lebanon and conditions in Iraq and on issues related to the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, primarily from the viewpoint of the IAEA's scrutiny of Iran's nuclear program, took place.

There were examined key practical questions of Russian-Israeli bilateral relations. It was particularly stressed that the April visit of President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin to Israel had had a substantial positive impact on the step-up of cooperation between our countries in various fields.



October 27, 2005



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