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    RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER CONCERNED WITH FATE OF ROAD MAP

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    MOSCOW, January 21 (RIA Novosti) - The situation concerning the fulfillment of the Middle East settlement plan "Road Map" almost came to a dead-end, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov disclosed at the opening of the meeting with Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath, who arrived to Moscow on Tuesday.

    Ivanov reminded those present that the Russian Foreign Ministry holds active dialogue with the quartet partners of international mediators, participating in the development of the Middle East settlement plan (UN, EU, Russia and the USA). Talks on this issue will be held in the near future with the French, Italian, German Foreign Ministers and the American State Secretary, Ivanov said.

    "It is very important for us to know the opinion of the Palestinian side in order to figure out the concrete measures to be taken for settlement of the relations between Israel and Palestine," the Russian Foreign Minister stressed.

    Shaath in his turn noted that Palestine constantly feels Moscow's support in all issues. "We are old friends. We have a saying in Palestine, that in Moscow even the snow is warmer than hearts of many people in other countries," he said.

    It is expected that in the course of the talks the two ministers would discuss the possibility of reaching agreement concerning the cessation of fire in the Middle East and beginning of the negotiating process.

    One of the main issues to be discussed at the negotiations is the issue concerning the construction by Israel of the Division Wall, which Tel Aviv erects on the Palestinian territories. This issue is opposed not only by Palestinians but by Russians as well, who believe that it is "contradicts international legal regulations." Nabil Shaath will stay in Moscow until January 23rd.

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