NOVO-OGARYOVO, January 23. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia-Palestine humanitarian, trade and economic ties were expanding, said a document prepared for a meeting on Thursday between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
This year, Russia would supply to Palestine two million dollars worth of flour, it said, adding that like in previous years, flour would be supplied to the PNA as a regular donor contribution to the UN World Food Program.
It said Moscow was considering “purchase of major batches of fruit and vegetables as well as the construction in the Palestinian National Authority of a canned food plant worth two million dollars”.
“The strengthening of Russia’s presence in Holy Land is very topical,” experts said, adding that the construction of a secondary school for 450 school students where Russian would be taught was launched in Bethlehem last year with Russia’s financial contribution of $1.5 million. The report also mentioned the construction underway in Bethlehem of a multi-functional centre which would house a wrestling facility, a music school and a business centre and would be donated to the city. The two countries were also looking into Russia’s possible participation in overhaul of the historical and religious centre of Bethlehem, in particular around the Church of the Nativity, it added.
The flow of Russian tourists to Palestine, mainly to Bethlehem and Jericho, keeps growing, demonstrating an 18% year-on-year growth in 2012 when 450,000 people visited the country. More than 500 Palestinian students study in Russia at the moment, with 115 of them getting state scholarships.