Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 204

Russian foreign minister Yevgeny Primakov, fresh from visits to Syria and Lebanon, arrived in Egypt yesterday and immediately called upon Israel to adhere to the "land for peace" principle agreed to at the 1991 Madrid peace summit. A failure to observe that principle could provoke renewed violence in the region, Primakov warned following talks with Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. (Reuter, October 30) Primakov has launched his Middle East trip with the intention of raising Russia’s profile in the region, and Mubarak suggested that Moscow does have a role to play in the peace process there. The Soviet Union was a co-sponsor of the 1991 Madrid conference.

Meanwhile, in remarks of his own made yesterday in Cairo, Washington’s envoy to Israel tried to defuse tensions between the U.S. and the two other outside players — Russia and the EU — suddenly competing for a peacemaking role in the region. Ambassador Martin Indyk said that the U.S. welcomes Russian and European support in its efforts to get the peace process back on track in the Middle East, but he cautioned that "to have more than one facilitator" could greatly complicate the situation in the region. Both Russia and the EU — and especially France — have intimated that peace talks have stalled because of what they say is Washington’s one-sided support for Israel. But tensions between Moscow and the Europeans have also cropped up. Speaking in Beirut prior to his departure for Cairo, Primakov denied press reports that his current trip to the region is a reaction to French president Jacques Chirac’s recent visit to the Middle East. Earlier, Russian diplomats had suggested that France and the EU are trying to supplant Russia as a player in the region. (Interfax, Reuter, October 30)

Moscow Backs Down in Confrontation with Tatarstan.