Israel, Russia hold ‘good’ diplomatic meeting, but little progress announced

Israel says a consular meeting with Russian officials Thursday was held in “good spirits,” and the two sides agreed vaguely to work toward solving a spat that has seen dozens of Israelis detained or deported at Moscow airports in recent days.

“Both sides agreed to do everything so as not to harm the movement of tourists and business ties between the countries and decided on a number of steps to help enforce the bilateral visa-free agreement,” the ministry says in a statement.

The ministry does not detail what steps will be taken, but says Russia agreed to upgrade its “consular interface” vis-a-vis Israel.

The ministry says that the sides spoke about “Israelis being prevented entry in Moscow and the issue of illegal workers and asylum seekers entering Israel from Russia,” without detailing any solution beyond Russia confirming that Israelis entering for business talks would be handled under rules published by the Russian embassy in Israel.

The statement also says Israelis expressed hopes that Israeli-American Naama Issachar would be released from prison soon, and that relatives and Israeli representatives will be allowed to visit her in prison more often. It does not detail any Russian response.

There is no immediate word from Russia on the meeting.

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