Russia to renew Jewish Agencys license

JERUSALEM — Russia has promised that by mid-June it will renew the accreditation of the Jewish Agency for Israel, signaling an end to the tension that erupted in April when the agency's operating license was suspended and several of its offices shut down.

Political sources said it was still unclear what kind of new mandate would be granted to the agency and whether this would include emigration activities.

The pledge was conveyed to Foreign Ministry Deputy Director General Eitan Ben-Tsur during talks last week in Moscow.

Ben-Tsur headed a delegation that traveled to Russia in an effort to calm friction in relations between the two countries.

The delegation met with Deputy Foreign Minister Viktor Posovalyuk, who expressed his country's interest in maintaining good relations with Israel.

At the end of the visit, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement that "the two sides reiterated their desire to develop good relations."

The statement also said, "Speculation which appeared in the media, in particular in Israel, on a worsening of relations between Israel and Russia do not portray the situation."

One of the issues for discussion was the registration of property in Jerusalem from the former Soviet Union to Russia.

Ben-Tsur reiterated Israel's intention to deal with the matter and the hope that the technicality which held it up would be resolved.

The statement also stressed the role of Russia in helping to advance the peace process on all tracks.

The sides also discussed expanding cooperation in the area of agriculture, increasing the number of Russian participants in courses offered by Israel, and sending Israeli experts to help run an experimental farm in Russia.