Russia calls Jerusalem bus blast 'barbaric act of terror'

23rd March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russia on Wednesday called a Jerusalem bus bombing that killed one person and injured 30 a "barbaric act of terror" that must not be allowed to destabilise the Middle East peace process.

"Moscow most resolutely condemns this barbaric act of terror, the organisers and the executors of this crime against civilians," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

"In the emerging situation, it is important to do everything to avoid a destabilisation of the situation in the Middle East," the statement added.

"No matter the arguments used to motivate such bloody actions, they cannot be justified."

The bus blast went off only hours before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was due to leave for Moscow for talks aimed at deterring Russia from aiding Israel's arch-foes in the region, Syria and Iran.

Both Russian and Israeli officials said Wednesday that the trip was still on, with Netanyahu meeting Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at around 4:00 pm (1300 GMT) and then holding talks with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

An Israeli official in Moscow said Netanyahu would make the bus bombing the focus of his meetings, with other topics suggested by Russia such as the Middle East peace process taking a secondary role.

The long-stalled peace process was the subject of Medvedev's Tuesday meeting with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, who has made regular trips to Moscow in a bid to gain international support for a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.

The Russian leader expressed concern in those talks that Palestinian-Israeli violence threatened to escalate given the current turmoil in north Africa and the Middle East.

The foreign ministry said on Wednesday it was particularly concerned given the rising tensions in Gaza, where Israeli forces on Tuesday killed eight people in reprisal for a new round of missile attacks.

"The escalation around Gaza, from which rockets are being fired against Israeli territory and which is being attacked from the air, has already complicated the situation in the region," the Russian statement warned.

"We cannot allow destructive forces to undermine international and regional efforts aimed at achieving a just Palestinian-Israeli settlement."

© 2011 AFP

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