Knesset Member Shaul Mofaz, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee to the Russian Delegation: Stop the weapons shipments from Russia to Syria.
A delegation of senators from the Russian Foreign Affairs and Defense Ministry, led by Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Russian Federation Council, Senator Mikhail Margalov, held a discussion with members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee. Margalov and Committee Chairman, MK Shaul Mofaz, head an Inter-parliamentary Committee (IPC) which meets bi-annually to discuss topics on the top of both countries` agendas.
MK Mofaz said to members of the Russian delegation: ”The most blatant subject in our region is a change in the Arab countries. I don`t accept the phrase `Arab Spring`, rather, `Islamic Winter`; one which intimates future dangers. We`re talking about events on a magnitude we could not have predicted twenty years ago. Our primary interest is preserving the peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan, alongside our attempts to restart negotiations with the Palestinians, which were unsuccessful for complex reasons that related to both sides. I believe Israel must promote the peace process and dialogue with the Palestinians.”
Mofaz stressed that Israel has three great question marks looming over it: The new regime in Egypt and learning of its sympathies towards Israel, the Iranian threat and events in Syria. ”We are not satisfied with Russia`s policy in regard to Iran`s nuclear program. My message to the Russian government and leadership is that Russia must change its policy regarding Iran`s nuclear program.
”The third, and no less important topic: Basar El Asad`s regime, which massacres its citizens daily, is nearing its end. I express my concern in front of the Russian Delegation that the weapons shipments from Russia to Syria continue to flow. This endangers the State of Israel`s security. It is impossible to know at this time in whose hands the weapons will land once Assad falls. We expect to see in the Russian superpower, a power which protects the stability and peace in the world.”
Senator Margalov: ”There is no need to waste words explaining to us the hidden dangers of terrorism and fundamentalism. For Russia, 30% of whose citizens are Muslim, processes which take place in the Middle East hold great significance. You will not find one serious person in the Russian government who supports the idea of a nuclear Iran. We share a maritime border with Iran in the Caspian Sea and believe me, we have no desire that a there will be a country in possession of nuclear weapons through our hands.”
Margalov added that ”With this, we feel that the Eastern chess[game] is no less important than the Western fist.” The many questions which arose in the discussion will continue to follow the delegation in their meetings in the coming days, he said. ”We will address these questions in every forum prepared for us, then we will work on them frequently.” Margalov stressed that he had invited Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin to a parliamentary visit in Russia. ”Israel and Russia are partners and direct meetings guarantee deeper and more rooted relationships.”
MK Meir Sheetrit addressed the Russian delegation with another problem: The payment of pensions to emigrants of the former USSR. He requested the Russian delegation’s assistance in finding a solution for the Israeli immigrants from the USSR who had worked and retired in Russia, and are now eligible for Russian pension.
MK Yohanan Plesner, Einat Wilf, Nissim Zeev and Amir Peretz joined the demand to prevent nuclear armament in the Middle East and the weapons shipments from Russia to Syria.