Medvedev angry 311 .
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was forced on Monday to cancel his first trip to Israel as Russia’s leader because of Foreign Ministry work sanctions that threatened to disrupt the visit.
RELATED:Foreign Ministry delays ambassadorial appt. over wages Foreign Ministry workers renew sanctions over salaries
Pini Avivi, the Foreign Ministry’s deputy director-general for Central Europe and Eurasia, said that both Jerusalem and Moscow were concerned that the visit – the first by a Russian president since Vladimir Putin’s trip here in 2005 – would be “less than perfect” as a result of the sanctions, and therefore decided to postpone it.
Medvedev was scheduled to come as head of a delegation numbering several hundred people, including businessmen and journalists. His stay in Israel was to be part of a regional trip, and it was not immediately clear whether the whole regional trip was being postponed as well.
Avivi said it had been agreed with Moscow that the visit would be rescheduled once the work sanctions ended.
A spokesman at the Russian Embassy in Tel Aviv said that Israel had asked for the postponement of the meeting. “It is a pity,” the spokesman said, adding that it was not clear how quickly a visit could be rescheduled.
Medvedev was expected to hold discussions here on a wide range of issues, from Iran, through the diplomatic process with the Palestinians, to Russian arms sales to Syria.
JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:
Foreign Ministry diplomatic workers stepped up sanctions last week after an 8- percent pay raise offer was dismissed by the workers’ committee as embarrassing.
In addition to Medvedev, both the Croatian and Slovenian prime ministers have canceled visits scheduled for this month.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed disappointment at the cancellation of Medvedev’s trip, saying it harmed Israel’s national interests.
Ya’acov Livne, co-head of the Foreign Ministry workers’ committee, said
he was “very sorry” about the cancellation of the visit, which he
described as “important and even historic.”
But, said Livne – who is deputy director of the Central Europe and
Eurasia division – the responsibility for the cancellation rested with
“It is not easy for us to cancel a visit like this, but unfortunately
there is no choice, and this is the only language the Finance Ministry
understands,” he said. He called on Netanyahu to get involved and find
an immediate solution to “perhaps the worst crisis in the history of
Israel’s foreign service.”
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>