( Itar-Tass ) - The status of Russian citizens on Palestinian lands is of special significance for federal authorities, which are working on their security in the light of recent events in Gaza and other territories, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said on Sunday.
"The rights of Russian citizens and other foreigners to receive a visa and stay on Palestinian lands are still not guaranteed. The position of those who live on Palestinian lands without a residence permit has not changed either," he said.
"The Russian administration, the Foreign Ministry and our diplomatic missions in Tel Aviv and Ramallah are taking energetic efforts to resolve the humanitarian problem," Kamynin said. "Russian citizens must have the right to pay a visit to the home country from Palestinian lands."
"The legal status of Russian citizens on Palestinian lands and the possibility of their unhampered visits to Russia and return to Palestinian territories have been repeatedly discussed with Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipora Livni," he said.
"The exacerbated Palestinian situation has once again highlighted the problem of Russian citizens, who permanently reside in the Middle East. It is a question of over 200 Russian women married to Palestinians," he said. "Their status remains unsettled against the background of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Israeli authorities stopped issuing documents, which permit Russian citizens to stay on Palestinian territories and freely travel, in September 2000 under the pretext of the serious military-political situation. Several thousands of citizens of EU member countries, the United States and other nations have found themselves in a similar situation."
Israeli authorities "have promised to find a way out," Kamynin said. " Israel has been posting information about attempts to improve the position of Russians and other foreigners through diplomatic channels and publicly, including statements by representatives of the Israeli Foreign Ministry. Unfortunately, their efforts have not brought tangible results, and this is a source of our mounting concern."
"Israeli authorities should take practical steps for settling the status of the aforesaid individuals and thereby achieve a breakthrough. The status of Russian citizens on Palestinian lands is of special significance for federal authorities, which are working on their security in the light of recent events in Gaza and other territories. We are considering the possible departure of those, who wish to leave the zone of confrontation," Kamynin said.