Russian Foreign Minister: Russia seeks firmer links with Israel

As Russian-Israeli talks were under way, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom told his Russian counterpart that Russia played an important role in the peace process in the Middle East. "I think Russia can contribute to peaceful settlement through close contacts with other countries of the region," emphasised Shalom.

"Moscow is well aware of all the problems of global terrorism we are facing today," continued Shalom. "We are certain that Russia will continue to help fight terrorism so as to achieve stability in the Middle East and on the planet as a whole.

For his part, Ivanov expressed the hope that the talks would enable both sides to exchange opinions on bilateral relations and the situation in the Middle East. "We shall discuss joint efforts to attain stability and security in the region," said Ivanov.

He mentioned the unceasing political dialogue between Israel and Russia, at the top level as well. "We can see the development of economic and cultural relations and, what is particularly delightful, contacts between our foreign ministries." He made a point of this being Russia's strategic line and Moscow's intention of stepping up relations between the two countries.

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