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Russia Expresses Concern About Continuing Violence In Mideast - 2001-08-01

Russia is expressing concern about the continuing violence in the Middle East.

The Russian ministry of foreign affairs has condemned the violence in the Middle East and has called for both sides to come to the negotiating table.

In a statement issued late Tuesday, Moscow specifically singled out certain Israeli tactics for criticism. It said it objects to the Israeli policy of seeking out and killing Palestinians who Israel considers to be dangerous.

The Russian foreign ministry said it is hard to find justification for these killings and that they only destabilize the region.

Israeli helicopters fired missiles Tuesday into the offices of the militant Palestinian organization, Hamas, killing eight Palestinians. Two of the dead were young boys. And on Monday, six Palestinians were killed in an explosion Israel said was a Palestinian bomb that went off prematurely.

Russia said it is especially worried about the violence in holy areas such as Jerusalem. In the statement, Moscow said actions, by what it called, Israeli religious fanatics, were the cause of fierce clashes this week, which injured many people in Jerusalem.

Moscow asked both sides to put an end to the violence. Russia called for the immediate implementation of the Mitchell peace plan. It calls for an immediate cease-fire and a series of confidence-building measures between the two sides that could lead to a resumption of peace negotiations.

Russia is a co-sponsor of the Middle East peace process, but is often overshadowed by the United States.