Russian envoy to head for MidEast in coming days

Russian envoy Andrei Vdovin is set to head for the Middle East within days. He says he expects to meet with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and inform the man of the outcome of the latest quartet meeting in Washington. Now "it is necessary to help Arafat rebuild the security apparatus," the envoy said, adding that otherwise the Palestinian Authority would be unable "to really confront extremists and terrorists." Vdovin elaborated that his and other quartet envoys' task is "to assess the condition of the Palestinian Authority security apparatus and, if necessary, assist in rebuilding it." He went on to say providing humanitarian aid was another subject he would likely discuss at his meeting with Arafat. In this respect, he said, it is imperative that unhindered delivery of relief supplies be organized promptly, from international organizations and individual governments alike. Moscow has already sent some aid, he said. He then expressed hope that "the situation with the house of God in Bethlehem is settled by Orthodox Easter." Diplomatic sources told RIA Novosti Vdovin would fly to Moscow from Washington on May 3, only heading for the Middle East from the Russian capital.

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