Russian FM calls for Shalit's release

After meeting with Livni, Lavrov also urged Israel to exercise restraint.

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
July 3, 2006 10:14
1 minute read.
Russian FM calls for Shalit's release

tzipi livni 298 88 aj. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called Monday for Palestinian terrorists to release kidnapped IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit and stop attacking Israeli cities. He called on Israel to exercise restraint. "The most important thing right now is to achieve the release of the captive Israeli soldier," Lavrov said, adding that Moscow was using all available channels to assist in that aim.

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Lavrov, speaking to reporters alongside Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, said it was necessary to "by all means stop the spiral of violence, which requires restraint and wisdom." "Such restraint, together with the involvement of the international community, can lead to dialogue restarting and the two sides can go back to implementing the 'road map,"' Lavrov said. Livni said she had hesitated to come to Russia at such a tense time, but said Israel believed Russia's role "can be very important" in helping solve the crisis. She thanked Lavrov for calling for the unconditional release of the soldier. "I hope that the signal that Russia and the international community are sending will help us achieve the desired result," she said. However, she expressed Israel's displeasure with Russia's having hosted a high-level Hamas delegation earlier this year, when Moscow broke ranks with other members of the so-called Quartet of Mideast negotiators. "If someone still had any doubts about the character of Hamas, the recent events days have demonstrated that the government claims responsibility for terrorist attacks and strives to conduct negotiations concerning those terrorist attacks with Israel," Livni said. "Elections are not some kind of a washing machine whereby a terrorist organization can wash itself. Terror is terror," she said.

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