Former Russian PM Embarks on Arab Tour
Former Russian prime minister Yevgeny Primakov will set off for a two-week tour of Arab states on Saturday, taking with him a message from President Vladimir Putin, Interfax news agency reported.
Interfax quoted Primakov, Russia's foremost Middle East expert and a fluent Arabic speaker, as saying his trip would include Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Tunisia.
"Putin knows about my trip and I will be carrying a message from the Russian president to the heads of these countries," he added.
But Primakov declined to comment on whether he was being sent on a special presidential mission.
Russian diplomacy in the Middle East is reviving after being pushed into the background for much of the 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Moscow has played host to a string of Middle Eastern officials recently.
Earlier this week, Syrian Defense Minister Mustafa Tlass held talks on security and cooperation, while Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres came to seek Moscow's views on the stagnant Palestinian-Israeli peace process.
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat is expected in Moscow on May 29 – Albawaba.com
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