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11 May, 2009 10:03

Time to press for peace in Middle East

Top Russian diplomats are in New York for UN Security Council debates aimed at re-starting the Middle East peace talks. With the new Israeli government now in place, Moscow believes it’s time to push the process forward.

The clear objective for the United Nations Security Council is to reaffirm its role, position, and assistance in helping Israel and Palestine to eventually reach a settlement that has been discussed for decades now.

Russia, which holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council this month, has called for this ministerial meeting, and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will chair the gathering.

It was back in December, when the Security Council did adopt a resolution. It was co-sponsored by Russia and the U.S. calling for a two-state solution. But scarcely a week after the resolution was adopted, the war in Gaza erupted.

Monday’s open debate comes as a new government has come in power in Israel. The election of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has brought a different kind of perspective to the situation, because the Israeli leader refuses so far to publicly endorse the idea of a Palestinian state.

At the very least, a presidential statement will come out of this Security Council debate. But one should remember that this will be just a unanimous agreement among the Council members. There are no legally binding attributions to the presidential statement. Nonetheless, it would be a positive symbolic message.