(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Adviser)

Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert spoke this morning (Wednesday), 11 January 2006, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who telephoned in order to express Russian President Vladimir Putin’s and the Russian people’s wishes both for a quick recovery to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and for success to Acting Prime Minister Olmert.

Acting Prime Minister Olmert said that everyone in Israel is praying for Prime Minister Sharon’s health and added that today as well there has been further improvement in his condition.

Acting Prime Minister Olmert said that Israel was interested in further enhancing relations with Russia. He added that on Sunday, 15 January 2006, he would submit for Cabinet approval the issue of voting by several hundred eastern Jerusalem Arabs at Postal Authority branches, it being clear that Hamas personnel and materials would be unable to participate in the elections in Jerusalem.

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said that they were working with the Palestinians so that the latter would implement their Roadmap commitments.

Acting Prime Olmert said that Israel was concerned about developments in Iran, including statements by its leaders regarding Israel, and asserted that the issue should be transferred to the UN Security Council as soon as possible so that the necessary steps could be taken in order prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear state.