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Russia's upper house delegation discusses Middle East, bilateral ties in Israel

July 22, 2014, 10:32 UTC+3 TEL-AVIV
At talks with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Russian parliament's members gave their assessment to processes going on in the Arab world
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 Israeli President-elect Reuven Rivlin at a press conference in Moscow

Israeli President-elect Reuven Rivlin at a press conference in Moscow

© ITAR-TASS/Sergei Bobylev

TEL-AVIV, July 22. /ITAR-TASS/. The delegation of Russian parliament’s upper house Federation Council headed by Chairman of the Committee for International Affairs Mikhail Margelov discussed the situation in the Middle East and prospects of development of Russian-Israeli relations with Israeli President-elect Reuven Rivlin and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. The Federation Council’s press service  reported this on Tuesday.

At talks with Rivlin, Margelov noted that the two countries had very much in common - history, culture and current problems, including the fight against terrorism. “For us a terrorist threat is not just words. We passed through this in our country,” he noted.

For his part, First Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council’s Committee for Defense and security Alexander Chekalin who had been fighting with gunmen in the Caucasus for several years dwelt on Russian experience in the fight against terrorism. Notably, he said that Russia had created a perfect legislative base which permits to act effectively in this sphere. “Mostly important for us is prevention of terrorism, its exposure at the early stage and a response to its first signs,” Chekalin said. He also noted importance of measures of counteraction to extremism which gives a breeding ground for terrorism.

“Terrorism has no borders. This is a highly mobile merciless system which can pose as any ideology, religion, distort history, mislead people and to send innocent people to take bloody actions,” Chekalin said. He proposed to Israel to share through parliamentary channels methods and ways of combating this threat, primarily at legislative level. “Our parliamentary doors are open for this dialogue. We are prepared to share our methods,” the upper house member said.

Rivlin who headed Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, before his election as president supported this initiative. “This co-operation is very important and interesting from legal and practical points of view,” he said.

The Israeli president-elect also noted importance to develop and build up relations with Russia. He recalled that the Soviet Union had been the first country to recognize the Jewish state and also noted that more than one million Israeli citizens were immigrants from former Soviet republics.

At talks with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Russian parliament's members gave their assessment to processes going on in the Arab world and discussed prospects of settling acute international crises, including in Syria and Ukraine.

Lieberman spoke of reasons to start an army operation in the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, he noted that Palestinian movement Hamas had been shelling Israeli cities from the territory of civil organizations - schools, kindergartens and hospitals. “Hamas has actually taken Gaza population as hostages,” the Israeli foreign minister said.

Israel also voiced concern over the Iranian nuclear program situation.

Margelov, who is also the special Russian presidential envoy on co-operation with African countries, raised problems of this continent with the Israeli minister. Notably, he noted growing weapons smuggling and subsequently higher instability in the Salah Sahara area. Margelov agreed with Lieberman that a threat of spreading Islamic fundamentalism was growing in Africa.

As for Russian-Israeli co-operation negotiators shared the view that major possibilities existed to boost it. In this respect, integration processes in the post-Soviet space, including prospects of expanding the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan were discussed.

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