The Russian and Israeli foreign ministers have called upon the Palestinian leadership to take tough action against extremist organisations. A RIA Novosti correspondent reports that, upon the conclusion of his meeting with Shimon Peres, Igor Ivanov declared that "the situation is critical, this is completely obvious." "At the same time, we are proceeding from the basis that the only way out of this crisis is through political methods," he said. Ivanov continued, "from our point of view, the Palestinian leadership must take tough measures in relation to extremist organisations so that their actions do not destroy steps taken in the interests of a political settlement." The minister stressed that Russia naturally condemned the recent terrorist attacks that claimed many lives. Ivanov pointed out that the "programme for a political settlement is known and has been approved by both sides." The Russian minister explained that he was referring to the Mitchell Plan, which, according to him, remains on the negotiating table. It is important to create the conditions for this and prevent various extremist and terrorist groups from disrupting the efforts of the international community to implement specific steps, Ivanov stated. According to Igor Ivanov, Russia has confirmed its readiness to render assistance and act in concert to prevent the situation from deteriorating further. The Russian foreign minister reminded those present that he had talked about this with US Secretary of State Colin Powell at an earlier meeting.
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