Russian Foreign Ministry: Mid East peace only achievable through joint efforts

During a RIA Novosti press conference today, official spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Alexander Yakovenko announced that the development of Russo-Israeli relations would not only facilitate better bilateral ties, but would also help peace to be achieved in the Middle East.

According to him, the Middle East peace process will be the focus of attention at negotiations on Monday between Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and his Israeli counterpart Silvan Shalom. The latter has just arrived in Moscow.

Yakovenko stressed that the situation in the Middle East remained complicated. He said that the ongoing conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis was preventing the formation of conditions for the normal and safe development of the region's states and nations.

"This situation can only be overcome through joint efforts," Yakovenko emphasised. According to him, the road map, drawn up by the four international mediators including Russia, offered a real opportunity to make a breakthrough.

"Now that both the Palestinian and Israeli leaderships have officially agreed to this plan, it needs to be implemented in practice as soon as possible," the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said. According to Yakovenko, Russia would consistently pursue this policy in its contacts with both the leaderships of Arab countries and Israel.

The Russian and Israeli foreign ministers will also discuss the situation around Iraq and issues of developing bilateral ties, above all trade-economic ones, during their meeting.

"The agenda of our negotiations is not limited by anything," Yakovenko said, "we are open to virtually all issues."

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