Israeli ambassador to Russia approves of US president's initiative on Middle East settlement

Israel's ambassador to Russia Nathan Meron considers US president George Bush's initiative on the Middle East settlement "very important and positive", he said in an interview to RIA Novosti.

The US president's proposals on reforming the state system of Palestine could contribute to carrying out democratic reforms of all Palestinian state institutions in a transparent and open way, he believes.

The Palestinians will be the first to benefit from this, Meron said. "I believe the Palestinian people expect this," he stressed.

When speaking on the future of Yasser Arafat, the Israeli ambassador refrained from commentaries, saying only that the right to decide and to choose belonged to the Palestinian people.

Yet he pointed out that the Israeli part could not negotiate with Arafat. "Nobody trusts him, and this is the largest obstacle in the Middle East peace settlement," Meron explained.

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