Russia this week urged Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to delay announcing Palestinian independence and to aim instead toward reviving the Middle East peace process. The Russian advice came during two days of talks in Moscow, during which Arafat met with Russian President Boris Yeltsin, Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov and Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov. The Russian leaders reportedly made it clear that Moscow supports the Palestinian right to create its own state, but recommended that Arafat not rush to make any such announcement (Russian and international agencies, April 5-6).
Arafat has suggested that he may declare an independent Palestinian state on May 4, following the expiration of an interim autonomy agreement with Israel. The Palestinian leader had traveled to the United States and Europe prior to coming to Russia for consultations on the issue, and is expected to visit other foreign capitals in the weeks to come. He has generally been advised to delay announcing Palestine’s independence.
TERRORISM IN NORTH CAUCASUS UNABATED.