MOSCOW, March 15 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian foreign minister and the United States secretary of state have called on Israelis and Palestinians to show restraint, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.
Sergei Lavrov discussed the current situation in the Middle East with Condoleezza Rice during a telephone conversation.
"[The sides] especially stressed the need for Palestinians and Israelis to show restraint, and the necessity of extra efforts, including at a level of the quartet of international mediators [the U.S., the UN, the EU, and Russia], to normalize the situation in Palestine in the light of the recent events in Jericho," the ministry said.
Israeli defense forces launched a military operation on a prison in Jericho after Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he was prepared to free one of the six inmates, Ahmed Saadat, who allegedly ordered the assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi in 2001.
Israeli authorities said five of the six inmates, including Saadat, were Palestinian militants involved in Zeevi's assassination, and the sixth, Fouad Shubaki, masterminded arms smuggling to Palestine.
Britain and the United States withdrew their monitors from Jericho just before the Israeli attack. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said the observers left Jericho because the Palestinian National Authority could not guarantee their safety.