Israel, Russia to ink crisis co-op agreement

09:15, May 24, 2011      

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Israel and Russia are set to sign an agreement that will bolster cooperation between the two countries in emergency situations, The Jerusalem Post reported on Monday.

Israel's Homeland Security Minister Matan Vilna'i and his Russian counterpart, Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu, are scheduled to sign the agreement next Monday in a ceremony at the Israeli Knesset parliament.

The report did not provide details on the nature of the cooperation, but it would most likely include civilian emergencies such as natural disasters.

Moscow was among a dozen nations that heeded a call for help from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last December, to dispatch firefighting aircraft to assist efforts to douse a devastating wildfire ravaged in northern Israel, and killed more than 40 people.

The Russian official's planned visit comes amid a minor diplomatic crisis that unfolded last week when Israel's military attache in Moscow was deported following accusations of espionage.

Israel Air Force Col. Vadim Leiderman was arrested in a Moscow restaurant while meeting with a Russian army officer on May 12, and was deported 48 hours later for allegedly trying to obtain details about Russian arms sales to Arab states.

On Friday, Russia's Federal Security Service said in a statement that Leiderman tried to obtain "secret information from several Russian state officials about the prospects for bilateral military cooperation and Russia's aid to Arab and CIS ( Commonwealth of Independent States) states."

The Israeli army rejected the accusations leveled at Leiderman as "baseless."

Source: Xinhua
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