Russian senator on Russian-Israeli relations

Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs Mikhail Margelov, who is currently visiting Israel, has met with the country's 1st Vice Premier and Industry/Trade Minister Ehud Olmert.

The discussion centered on the importance of advancing Russian-Israeli co-operation to a brand new level, the member of the Russian parliament's upper house told RIA Novosti afterwards.

It is very important to proceed from common statements about mutual sympathy to real economic projects, either bilateral or involving the markets of third countries, the senator said. In his opinion, it is particularly important to focus on defence industry.

During the meeting, Olmert had spoken in favor of the Road Map plan of Israeli-Palestinian settlement, saying it was necessary to step up Russia's role in its realisation.

Margelov had also met with Patriarch of Jerusalem Ireneos I and discussed with him the holding of an international conference called Holy Places on Holy Land in Geneva in early 2004, an idea advanced by the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs. The idea had received support of the Russian Orthodox Church and Vatican.

The patriarch had pointed out the importance of holding such a meeting, saying the Holy Land had shrines of three religions and that believers were fully entitled to visit them freely.

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