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Terrorist Acts in Hebron and Jerusalem

Statement By Alexander Yakovenko, The Official Spokesman Of Russia's Ministry Of Foreign Affairs

Concerning the Terrorist Acts in Hebron and Jerusalem

The last few days have been marked in the world by a new flare-up of merciless terror. On the evening of May 17 and the morning of May 18, soon after the large-scale terrorist acts in Morocco, two more criminal actions were committed - this time against the citizens of Israel. In Hebron and Jerusalem the explosions thundered that carried off the lives in the former case of two, and in the latter - of seven people. Dozens more were injured.

It is becoming abundantly clear that these latest terrorist acts are links of a single chain of actions being carried out across the world by terrorist groups, of which Palestinian extremists are a part. As in other countries, they want to intimidate the population, to destabilize the situation and to thwart all the constructive ideas and initiatives directed to a quest for peace and harmony.

What causes our particular concern is that the new attack of terrorists was undertaken immediately after the meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the recently appointed Premier of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen). At such a high level the sides had not met for more than two years, since the very beginning of the Palestinian intifada.

Moscow believes that in any case this meeting constitutes an important event in the efforts now being made by Israel and the PNA with the cooperation of the Quartet of international mediators consisting of Russia, the US, EU and UN to end violence and resume Palestinian-Israeli negotiations on the basis of the Road Map for Middle East settlement, drafted by the Quartet. As we understand, this was to be the focus of the discussion during the personal contact between Sharon and Abbas. We call upon both sides to act on the basis of the Road Map, which is as of now the only real, compromise alternative to the force-based confrontation that leads to a deadlock.

Unequivocally condemning the terrorist attacks in Hebron and Jerusalem and expressing sincere condolences to the leadership of Israel and the families of the dead, we again reaffirm our position in favor of both strengthening the joint struggle of the international community against terrorism and intensifying, with support from primarily the Quartet, concerted actions for advancement towards peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and in the final analysis - between Israel and the Arabs as a whole.

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