Moscow calls Arafat important figure

Moscow considers that Yasser Arafat remains a political figure influencing the process of the Mideastern settlement.

"The Palestinian leader is still an important figure and we should cooperate with him for the sake of the progress in the settlement," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Saltanov said.

Answering a question on Arafat's political efficiency, Saltanov said, "he is the leader chosen by Palestinian people." Therefore, "he remains a politician influencing the process of settlement," the deputy foreign minister said in his interview with the Vremya Novostei newspaper.

"Only Palestinians can choose their leader," Saltanov noted.

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