Arafat Envoy Holds Talks with Kremlin's Middle East Pointman
A top envoy of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat held talks here Friday on the Middle East crisis with the Kremlin's pointman on the Middle East, Vasily Sredin, the foreign ministry said.
During his meeting with Mahmud Abbas, Sredin repeated Russia's call for an immediate end to clashes between Israeli soldiers and stone-throwing Palestinian protestors in Gaza and the West Bank.
A foreign ministry communiqué released after the meeting called on both sides to avoid actions that might destabilize the situation and urged them to return to the negotiating table.
It quoted Abbas as urging Russia to play a greater role in the Middle East peace process, which Moscow in theory co-sponsors with Washington.
However, Russia's influence in the region -- where it has traditionally supported Arab states -- has significantly waned in recent years.
Russian officials said they had not been invited to this month's summit in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, although Ivanov has since said that Moscow will take a more active role in seeking an end to the Israeli-Palestinian violence -- MOSCOW (AFP)
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