Israeli Prime Minister's forthcoming negotiations in Moscow to be devoted to halting the escalation of violence in Middle East

The forthcoming negotiations between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who is arriving in Moscow on September 29, will be devoted to the efforts made to halt the escalation of violence in the Middle East and turn developments into the channel of a dialogue. The press learned this from Alexander Saltanov, deputy head of the Russian Foreign Ministry before the meeting of the State Duma Committee for International Affairs.

According to Alexander Saltanov, the negotiations will be based on the proposals advanced by the "group of four" on the Mideast settlement, which met in New York last week. "What worries Russia is the development of the situation in the Middle East in connection with the growing tension on Palestinian territories," noted deputy Foreign Minister of Russia.

It is important now to make the most energetic efforts to defuse the situation, including deblocking of the headquarters of Yasser Arafat, leader of the Palestine National Authority.

In Moscow's opinion, the blocking of the headquarters will not ease the situation, but, on the contrary, will exacerbate the atmosphere, causing a sharp aggravation of the crisis in the Palestinian-Israeli relations.

Saltanov said that practical steps should be taken by both sides, to clear the way for the resumption of the negotiating process and a political settlement of the Palestine problem.

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