Sharon urges Russia to drop United Nations resolution
* Moscow concerned over ME violence
* Israel, Russia vow cooperation on Iran’s N-plan
MOSCOW: Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon urged Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday to drop a UN resolution which the Jewish state fears will undermine the United States’ lead role in a Middle East peace plan.
A senior Israeli official said Mr Putin did not respond directly to Sharon’s request, made during Kremlin talks, and that the two leaders remained at odds over the transfer of Russian nuclear technology and missile know-how to Iran. Russia introduced a resolution at the United Nations last Thursday asking the Security Council for the first time to formally approve the road map, which calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
“The proposal we accepted was between two sides and should be carried out by the two sides, not by coercion from the United Nations,” the official said.
Asked how Mr Putin had responded, he replied: “They (the Russians) knew about our view before this, but I feel that now they have understood it far better.”
Moscow’s concern: Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday Moscow was concerned over Israeli-Palestinian violence, telling visiting Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon he would do all he could to end the bloodshed.
They made no reference to Russia’s UN resolution seeking Security Council endorsement of a peace “road map”, and they did not immediately discuss other thorny issues such as the transfer of Russian nuclear technology and missile know-how to Iran.
“We follow closely how our former countrymen settle down and go about their lives in Israel and the worsening of the situation in the Middle East gives us certain concern about their future,” Mr Putin said.
“This among other things is the reason why we are ready to go on taking an active part, as far as this is possible, in finding a settlement to the situation in the Middle East.” Mr Sharon is visiting Russia for the third time in less than three years, underlining the importance he attaches to Israel’s large Russian-speaking population. He also hopes Moscow will use its traditional ties with the Arab world to boost peace moves. He said Russia, a member of international mediators which drew up the “road map” peace plan, was an important player in the Middle East conflict and called Putin a “real friend of Israel”.
Cooperation: Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin agreed Monday on closer working relations between the two countries over Iran’s nuclear programme, an Israeli official said.
“The Russians understand the real danger that nuclear weapons in Iran’s possession would represent,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“We have agreed to give new momentum to meetings between officials of the two countries on this matter,” he added.
Russia is building Iran’s first nuclear power reactor at Bushehr, which has been fiercely criticized by Washington and Israel. Iran, which has been branded by US President George W Bush part of an “axis of evil” along with Iraq and North Korea, has faced growing international criticism in regard to its nuclear programme.
The Israeli official warned: “You cannot trust these Iranian manoeuvres which are just to deceive the world to continue their nuclear programme.” —Reuters/AFP