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Arafat meets with Russian president

MOSCOW, Feb. 18 (JTA) — Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat met this week with Russian President Boris Yeltsin to discuss Russian-Palestinian relations and the Middle East peace process. Arafat, who arrived Tuesday in Moscow for a two-day visit, was also scheduled to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov and Gennady Seleznyov, the speaker of the Duma, the lower house of Parliament. When he greeted Arafat, who last visited Moscow three years ago, Yeltsin called him “a friend of the Russian people” and the “legitimately elected leader of the Palestinian people.” During their meeting, Arafat invited the Russian president to visit the West Bank town of Bethlehem for the celebration of Christianity’s 2,000th anniversary. Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to visit Moscow on March 10, when he is expected to sign with Yeltsin several agreements aimed at boosting Israeli-Russian economic ties.