Prime Minister Ehud Olmert traveled to Paris Sunday for talks that will focus on Iran, carrying in his pocket what he said was a guarantee from Russian President Vladimir Putin that Russia would not "put Israel in a place where it could be threatened."
Olmert's trip to France comes just three days after his lightning visit to Russia and a three-hour meeting with Putin.
Olmert told reporters en route to Paris that his meetings in Russia were "serious and important." He said he talked extensively with Putin about the Iranian issue and was "satisfied" with what he heard.
Olmert's snap visit to Russia came after Putin questioned in Teheran whether Iran was developing nuclear weapons and warned the West against attacking Iran.
Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Saltanov and Moscow's envoy to the Quartet Sergei Yakovlev arrived in Jerusalem on Sunday for two days of talks. The talks are to concentrate on the Palestinian track, but are also expected to deal somewhat with the Iranian nuclear issue.
The two met on Sunday with Foreign Ministry Director-General Aharon Abramovitch, and are set to meet Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Monday. Israel is expected to impress upon the two the importance of continuing to isolate Hamas.
According to the Foreign Ministry, the visit was planned some four weeks ago as part of a regional tour that will also take the pair to the PA, Egypt and Jordan. The purpose of the visit, according to the officials, is to hear from the sides their positions in the run-up to the proposed Mideast meeting later this year in Annapolis.
Olmert, meanwhile, is scheduled to meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday, the European leader who Israeli officials say is currently showing more determination than any other European leader to stop the Iranian nuclear march. He is also scheduled to meet French Prime Minister Francois Fillon and leaders of the local Jewish community.
On Tuesday he will travel to London for meetings with Prime Minister Gordon Brown, opposition head David Cameron and Jewish leaders.
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