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Russia: Moscow Says Expelling Arafat Would Be Serious Mistake

Moscow, 12 September 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Russia said today any move by Israel to expel Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat would be "a serious mistake with the most negative consequences." A statement from the Foreign Ministry said such a step would make a peaceful resolution of the Middle East conflict impossible and would lead to what it called a "worst-case scenario."

Russia, along with the United States, United Nations, and the European Union, are the co-sponsors of the road map aimed at establishing peace in the region.

The U.S. and the EU yesterday also denounced a possible Israeli move to expel Arafat.

The Israeli security cabinet yesterday approved "in principle" a decision to evict Arafat from the West Bank and send him into exile. It did not set a date for any action.

Thousands of Palestinians marched in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip overnight to demonstrate their support for the Palestinian leader.