Israel to open Erez border for Russians in Gaza

Over 150 Russians were to be evacuated from the Palestinian-controlled Gaza Strip on Wednesday, Moscow said after days of diplomatic wrangling to pull the group from the war-torn territory.

Israel to open Erez border for Russians in Gaza
Over 150 Russians were to be evacuated from the Palestinian-controlled Gaza Strip on Wednesday, Moscow said after days of diplomatic wrangling to pull the group from the war-torn territory.

'In all there are 155 Russian citizens in the lists - Russian women who married Palestinians, their children and husbands who have Russian citizenship,' said Alexei Pogodin, Russia's representative in the Palestinian Territories.

An additional 20 citizens of former Soviet republics Belarus, Moldova and Kazakhstan were to join them, Pogodin said in remarks shown on Russian cable television channel Vesti-24.

The evacuees were to cross into Israel starting at 12 pm (0900 GMT), Russian diplomatic sources in Tel Aviv told the news agency Interfax.

The Eres border checkpoint was to be opened after days of negotiations between Russian diplomats and their Israeli counterparts to get the Russian women out of Gaza.

The situation had been further complicated by the lack of a Russian-Israeli agreement on dual citizenship.

Russians with Palestinian citizenship are considered Palestinians by Israel, and Israel kept the Eres checkpoint closed, according to Russian sources, due to a large, partially armed crowd at the border.
Last Mod: 20 Haziran 2007, 13:03
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