FM Levy Meets Russian Ambassador Bogdanov

(Communicated by Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
17 August 1999

Foreign Minister David Levy today (Tuesday) 17.8.99, met Russian Ambassador to Israel Mikhail Bogdanov to discuss Levy’s upcoming meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov at the United Nations, the peace process, recent outbreaks of anti-Semitism in Russia and cooperation in the fight against fundamentalist terrorism.

Regarding the peace process and the multilateral tracks, Ambassador Bogdanov expressed Russia’s desire to be involved and suggested Moscow as a venue to host the steering committee at the level of foreign ministers, as has been done in the past. Foreign Minister Levy replied, "It is natural that Russia should help advance the peace process and to resume the multilateral talks."

The Ambassador expressed his concern over the fighting between Russia and Muslim rebels in Dagestan in the northern Caucasus, and expressed Russia’s desire to cooperate and exchange intelligence with Israel on this matter.

"Defensive forces must be deployed against the threat of Islamic fundamentalism to Israel and all the other nations in the region — the sooner the better. Terrorism knows no borders. It is a time-bomb that threatens not just us, but the entire region, said Levy. He added, "Israel and Russia must stand firm against the threat. We are fighting a common battle, both geographically and in terms of our values."

Regarding the phenomenon of anti-Semitism in Russia, including the recent stabbing of a Jewish community official and the placing of bombs in synagogues, the Foreign Minister said, "Decisive actions must be taken to prevent the recurrence of such incidents and to stop the wave of destructive acts. Especially worrying is that politicians allow themselves to make anti-Semitic statements on public stages."