Russian President Dmitri Medvedev will not visit Israel due to disruptions imposed by the Foreign Ministry's workers union but is nonetheless planning to travel to Jordan and the Palestinian Authority later this month. President Shimon Peres spoke to Medvedev Tuesday who told him he intends to visit the Palestinian territories.
The president's bureau said that the Russian president accepted Peres' invitation to hold a work meeting late January during the World Economic Forum in Davos. Medvedev noted that after visiting Jordan and meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Jericho the two will have a chance to discuss the peace process in Davos.
Peres apologized before the Russian president for the circumstances that prevented him from visiting Israel. He told Medvedev that many in Israel were looking forward to his visit and noted that Russia has a lot to offer in terms of furthering the peace process in the Middle East.
Peres also noted his satisfaction over the close relations Russia and Israel now enjoy and thanked Medvedev for his personal contribution in fostering tighter relations. He also thanked him for Russia's involvement in the peace process.
President Medvedev said he regretted having to cancel his visit, which was planned months in advance and noted he was aware of the "technical administrative difficulties in Israel." He stressed the issue will not effect bilateral relations.
Medvedev was slated to visit Israel on January 17-19 accompanied by a delegation of 500 members, including 300 businessmen, ministers and senior officials. The visit has major political significance for Israel.
The Foreign Ministry's workers union said in response that "unfortunately the obtuseness and negligence on the part of the finance minister and his clerks once again hurt the State of Israel's national fortitude and foreign relations."
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