'Russia to play active role in West Asia settlement'

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Moscow, Oct 8: President Dmitry Medvedev has said Russia would continue to play a constructive and active role in the West Asia peace process.

''Our relations are developing very well and steadily, and this is one of the key factors of the West Asia settlement,'' Mr Medvedev said at the talks with the visiting Israel's interim Prime Minster Ehud Olmert on Tuesday, Oct 7. ''Russia will continue playing a constructive and active role in this process,'' he added. Mr Olmert arrived in Moscow on a visit on Monday despite his resignation on September 21 amid corruption allegations. He has been replaced as the leader of Israel's ruling party by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and the trip is likely his last as Israeli Prime Minister.

The Russian leader thanked Mr Olmert for the Israeli government's resolution to return to Russia the ownership of Jerusalem's Sergei Courtyard. The decision, made on Sunday, Oct 5 ends a long struggle for the return of the two-storey building, which was built in 1890 to house the Russian pilgrims visiting the Holy Land. On his part, Mr Olmert said, ''Russia is a global power and its say on regional and global issues is extremely important.'' He also stressed the importance of bilateral relations between Russia and Israel.

UNI

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