Israeli Foreign Minister notes Russia's key role in Mideast settlement

Russia's role in the Mideastern settlement is a key one, Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, currently in Moscow on a routine visit, told reporters Monday.

The Middle East problem and Russia's contribution to the settlement effort will dominate Moscow talks with his Russian counterpart, Igor Ivanov, said Mr Shalom.

When touching on the problem of international terrorism, the minister pointed to closeness of Russia's and Israel's positions on it. He believes the struggle against international terror has acquired a global scale.

At upcoming meetings at the top of the Federation Council, Russian parliament's upper house, Mr Shalom is expected to discuss the two countries' co-operation in virtually all areas - scientific, cultural and many others. He deemed it necessary to step up Israeli-Russian interaction in the political area.

As commenting on the implementation of the roadmap plan of Palestinian-Israeli settlement, the minister said both parties have to be set to resolve the problem. We cannot afford moving in different directions. Talks are held in the daytime, while terror acts are staged at night, said Mr Shalom. Previous cabinets accepted that, something that produced negative results as a rule, said Mr Shalom.

As to the Iran problem, the foreign minister urged tougher control over the country's nuclear programme by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Iran's nuclear ambitions cause concerns of Israel and the entire global community, he emphasised.

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