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Acting President Vladimir Putin spoke by telephone with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak

February 16, 2000

During the conversation Mr Barak praised the February 1, 2000 meeting of the foreign ministers of the Multilateral Steering Group of the Middle East Peace Process in Moscow. Mr Putin thanked him for his words and said that Russia as a co-sponsor of the Middle East process planned to play a most active role in establishing peace and stability in the region.

Mr Barak thanked Russia for its efforts to secure the release of Israelis taken hostage by militant groups in Chechnya. He expressed his understanding of the fact that Russia was fighting terrorism in the interests of the rest of the world. Mr Putin told Mr Barak of Russia’s efforts to get hostages freed in Chechnya, describing these efforts as one of the key aspects of the counter-terrorist operation.

Mr Putin and Mr Barak also discussed some practical matters of bilateral relations.

February 16, 2000