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Allenby Bridge to close for Russian president

Jan. 16, 2011 9:40 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 18, 2011 1:58 P.M.)
JERICHO (Ma'an) -- Palestinian Authority crossings officials said Sunday that the Allenby Bridge would close Tuesday to facilitate the arrival of the Russian president.

The border crossing between Jordan and the West Bank would be closed in both directions between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., officials said.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is expected to inaugurate the Jericho Museum, built by Russia on lands donated for the project by the Orthodox Church in 2008.

Medvedev delayed his visit to Israel due to a strike by Israeli diplomats.

According to the Israeli news site Ynet, Israeli Foreign Ministry officials refused to give the Russian president a visa and said they would make no arrangements for his trip.

On hearing the news, Russian Foreign Ministry officials sent a message to Israel, saying "Don't embarrass us," and reportedly canceled the trip shortly after.

The cancellation was viewed as a huge embarrassment to Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who was born in the former Soviet Union.

When it became clear that Medvedev still intended to visit Palestine during the voyage, Israeli Foreign Ministry workers reportedly threatened to stop him from crossing the Allenby Bridge into the West Bank.
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