Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres met several heads of state at the Conference on Interactions and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) over the weekend in Kazakhstan. In a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Peres noted the possibilities concerning Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians including bilateral negotiations. “We want to end the occupation, which is bad for us morally, diplomatically and demographically,” Peres told Putin. “We also prefer to do so bilaterally.” Peres also engaged in discussions with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and shook hands with Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf. The two countries do not engage in diplomatic relations with Israel. Peres is minister for the development of the Negev and the Galilee and is responsible for Israel’s economic relations with neighboring countries.