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    Putin, Wolfensohn to discuss Mideastern settlement

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    MOSCOW, June 25 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with former WB president James Wolfensohn, the Mideastern quartet's special envoy for facilitating Israel's withdrawal from Gaza, in St. Petersburg on Saturday, a Kremlin source said.

    According to him, Russia assigns priority to Wolfensohn's mission which is to last till the end of 2005. The promotion of socio-economic development of Palestinian territories is one of Wolfensohn's tasks, the source added.

    "The implementation of the projects of the quartet's envoy is to improve living standards in Palestine and prove that the political settlement is yielding tangible results," the source said.

    Russia is ready for rendering practical assistance to Palestine in developing statehood and resolving sharp socio-economic problems, the source said.

    He pointed to "real chances to promote the peace process in the region." The roadmap implementation will help create an independent Palestinian state living in peace and security. "Israel's coordinated and calm withdrawal from Gaza and the West Bank will mark an important step towards this goal," the source said. However, the settlement needs proactive support of the international community.

    According to the source, Russia is making an important contribution into the activities of the Mideastern quartet (the U.S., EU, UN and Russia) which has recently boosted efforts at the Palestinian-Israeli settlement.

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