Russian envoy going back to Middle East
Interfax, Russia, 21.04.2003
MOSCOW. April 21 (Interfax) - A Russian envoy who has just visited the Middle East is going back there on Tuesday due to the "complicated situation" in the region, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
Observers say a dispute between Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and his Prime Minister-designate, Mahmoud Abbas, over the composition of the new Palestinian Cabinet may be the reason for Andrei Vdovin's renewed trip.
"It is our principle that, in the complicated situation evolving in that region, it is important not to loosen efforts for Middle East settlement," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a release made available to Interfax.
Vdovin's "tasks include continuing - in coordination with the other Quarter members - work to help carry through Palestinian reforms and resume the peace process on the basis of the 'road map.'"
The "road map" is a phased plan for complete Palestinian statehood agreed to by the Quartet of mediators - the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations.
Earlier, Russia insisted that Israel and the Palestinian National Authority start putting the "road map" into practice immediately after the new Palestinian Cabinet took shape.