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    MOSCOW REGARDS ISRAEL'S THREATS TO ARAFAT AS INADMISSIBLE

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    MOSCOW, April 3, 2004. (RIA Novosti). -Moscow considers Israeli officials' statements containing direct threats to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat as inadmissible, spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Alexander Yakovenko told journalists on Saturday.

    "Russia has been consistently opposing the practice of non-judicial punishment. The latter is non only a violation of the international law, but it also frustrates the efforts to break the vicious circle of violence and initiate a constructive dialogue between the conflicting parties," he emphasized.

    Assessing the latest developments in the Middle East, Alexander Yakovenko said that "Moscow has been following the recent developments in this region with increasing concern, particularly in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian relations." "We deeply regret that bloody clashes take place today in places worshipped as sanctuaries both by Moslems and Jews, primarily in Jerusalem," Yakovenko pointed out.

    "We call on the Palestinian leadership to take all the necessary steps to put a halt to activities carried out by terrorist groups as those clearly prevent implementation of the Palestinian people's hopes for establishment of an independent Palestinian state coexisting in peace and security with its neighbor, Israel," the official spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

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