The delegation from the European Jewish Congress (EJC), the democratically elected representative body of European Jewish communities, brought up the issue of Shalit during their meeting with Lavrov in Moscow.
Dr. Moshe Kantor, President of the EJC, presented the Russian Foreign Minister with a book that Shalit wrote when he was 11 years old called “When the Shark and the Fish First Met”.
Lavrov told the delegation that he is in constant communication with the Shalit family and that the Russian government would provide any assistance that would be required. Kantor spoke about how important the Shalit affair was for the EJC.
“The continuing incarceration of Gilad Shalit is a humanitarian issue of great concern to Israel and the Jewish people,” Kantor said to Lavrov. ”Given Russian influence in the Middle East we would like to ask what Russia can do to help solve this issue.”
The EJC delegation is in Russia to discuss major issues of concern to the Jewish community and will meet with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday.
The delegation arrived in Moscow to discuss Russia’s attitude towards tough sanctions against Iran in the wake of the stalled P5+1 talks. The P5+1 consists of the permanent members of the UN Security Council - the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia - and Germany.
“It is vital that there is consensus on the next step should the talks fail. Russia is a vital part of any chances that a strong sanctions program will achieve its object and end the nuclear stand-off peacefully,” Kantor said. “We also asked the Russian leaders to impress the need for tough sanctions with their allies, including the Chinese.”
Another issue of particular concern to the EJC is the possible delivery to Iran from Russia of the S-300 missile system.
“If the S-300’s were in the hands of the Iranians we can kiss goodbye any chance of a peaceful resolution to the Iranian nuclear issue,” Kantor continued.
“It is clear that the Iranians already see themselves as able to dictate terms to the international community, this missile system would allow them to think of themselves as completely above the law and would act with complete impunity.”