Russian president to visit Palestinian territories, despite cancelling Israel leg of trip
The Kremlin said President Dmitry Medvedev is going ahead with a visit to the Palestinian territories, even though his trip to Israel had been canceled.
The cancellation was due to problems in Israel - a strike at the Foreign Ministry, which made it difficult to organize the Russian president's visit. Even so, the Israeli government is likely to be angered by Medvedev's plans to visit the Palestinian territories and Jordan.
The Kremlin statement, released late Tuesday, said President Shimon Peres had apologized to Medvedev for the inability to prepare for his visit in mid-January.
During their telephone conversation, the two presidents agreed to meet during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, at the end of the month.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is enraged at employees of his ministry over the cancellation.
The Russians decided to cancel Medvedev's trip to Israel that was supposed to occur in two weeks' time, due to fears that Foreign Ministry workers, who are demanding improved salary conditions, would embarrass the Russian president upon his arrival in Israel.
Foreign Ministry employees announced on Sunday that they would 'ruin' the visit of the Russian president, as part of a series of steps they would be taking to secure their improved work conditions.
The workers made clear to the Russians, via the Russian-language Israeli media, which is monitored closely by Moscow, that they would not participate in preparations for Medvedev's visit.