Israeli and Russian Foreign Ministries Conduct Political Dialogue

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
June 9, 1998

The first day of discussions between the Israeli and Russian foreign ministries, as part of consultations between the two countries in the framework of the political dialogue, concluded this evening (Tuesday), 9.6.98, in Moscow.

During the day, the discussions focused on developments in the peace process, the regional system and disarmament issues. The sides updated each other and exchanged assessments regarding the future of negotiations. Also discussed were a series of bilateral issues, and it was agreed to formalize and deepen the political dialogue between Israel and Russia.

Foreign Ministry Director General Eytan Bentsur, who is heading the Israeli delegation, expressed his appreciation for Russia’s contribution to the peace process and thanked his hosts for their continued contribution, especially on the multilateral track. The Russian deputy foreign minister noted that Russia is interested in playing a leading role in the process and that it would be pleased to host the steering committee of the multilateral talks when conditions for this are right.

Mr. Bentsur called on the Russians to continue helping to promote the Israeli initiative for implementing UN Security Council Resolution 425 regarding Lebanon and expressed his appreciation for the Russian effort regarding Israel’s POWs and missing soldiers. He also briefed his host on the details of the deal taking shape vis-a-vis the Palestinians, noting that Israel is firm in its demand that the relevant articles of the Palestinian Charter be amended by the Palestinian National Council.

Mr. Bentsur also explained to his host about a series of additional commitments not yet fulfilled by the Palestinians, including the size of the Palestinian Police and handling of the issue of illegal weapons.

Over the course of the day, Mr. Bentsur also met with the speaker of the Duma, talking with him about developments in the peace process and bilateral issues.

Discussions are expected to continue tomorrow in working groups.