On upcoming talks between Ariel Sharon & Russian leaders

Israeli Premier Ariel Sharon is coming to Russia on September 29 and will stay on until October 1, reported a diplomatic source in the Russian capital. According to the source, Sharon will hold meetings with the Russian leadership, namely with Premier Mikhail Kasyanov and Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov. Talks will mostly focus on the situation in the Mideast.

According to RIA Novosti's information, Sharon's visit to Russia is being arranged on Israel's initiative. Moscow officials say relations between the two countries are based on equality, mutual respect and mutual interest in their further development, which accounts for the fact that there are no taboo issues on the agenda of the Russian-Israeli dialogue.

Talks with the Israeli premier are an important part of Russia's effort to stabilize the situation in the Mideast. In Moscow's opinion, further "heating up" of the situation poses a threat to regional security and is fraught with destabilization in other parts of the world.

Russia's active contacts with Israel and Arab states are meant to help transfer the Arab-Israeli conflict into the sphere of political settlement. Moscow believes that each party to the conflict must find its own way towards normalization of the situation and resumption of peace negotiations.

The Russian side, too, intends to explain its position in respect to terrorism. Moscow counts on talks with Sharon to help determine further steps towards peace in the Mideast.

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