Russia, Palestine to discuss Israel's unilateral separation

Russian Foreign Minster Sergei Lavrov and his Palestinian counterpart Nabil Shaath will conduct negotiations on Friday during which they will discuss the plan of Israel's unilateral separation from the Palestinian Authority. RIA Novosti has learned this today from the Arab diplomatic quarters in Moscow.

The Palestinian minister intends to coordinate the positions on this score with the Russian side on the eve of his visit to the United States. The ministers will also discuss perspectives for the implementation of the Road Map peaceful plan, said the source.

The plan for the unilateral separation of Israel from the Palestinian Authority, put forth the other day by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, provides for evacuating about 9,500 people from twenty Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip and for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from that area. However, Israel hopes to preserve sovereignty over big Jewish settlements on the Western Bank of the Jordan.

However, on Wednesday, Palestinian Minister for Negotiation Affairs Saeb Erikat sharply criticised the Israeli plan. According to him, there is only one road to peace - "termination of the Israeli occupation, the return of Israel to the borders of 1967, including Jerusalem, and the granting the Palestinian refugees of the right to return home." American President George Bush has supported Ariel Sharon's plan.

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