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21 Nov, 2023 18:25

Fresh Palestinian statehood talks needed – Lavrov

The resolution of the Middle East conflict requires a solid internationally accepted plan, the Russian foreign minister has said
Fresh Palestinian statehood talks needed – Lavrov

A restart of the Israel-Palestine peace process is urgently needed to resolve the conflict amid the current escalation in Gaza, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday.

This will require a collective diplomatic mechanism aimed at the creation of a Palestinian state, Lavrov told the joint delegation of the Arab League and the Islamic Cooperation Organization in Moscow.

The continued violence, which has already led to “catastrophic humanitarian consequences,” vividly demonstrates how dangerous the approach of ignoring international law is, he said, referring to the Israeli bombardment of the Palestinian enclave, which has killed thousands.

Russia “condemns terrorism in all its forms without any exception,” the minister maintained. He added, however, that the fight against extremism should not turn into “collective punishment” for Gazans, which blatantly violates “international humanitarian norms.” Lavrov said a speedy ceasefire, humanitarian aid deliveries and release of the hostages were the “top priority” issues at the moment.

No less important is the re-launch of the peace process “on an internationally accepted basis” that is in line with UN decisions and those of the Arab League and the Islamic Cooperation Organization, the top diplomat said. Such a peace process should be aimed at creating an “independent sovereign Palestinian state within the 1967 borders and with a capital in East Jerusalem,” he added.

The previous mediator of the Middle East peace process – the so-called Middle East Quartet – has proven its ineffectiveness, the Russian minister believes. Established in Madrid in 2002, the group included the US, Russia, the EU, and the UN and was expected to navigate the Israeli-Palestinian peace process towards a two-state solution.

The group’s work was nearly paralyzed during Donald Trump’s tenure as US president. Trump demanded all other members of the Quartet agree to his “Deal of the Century” – a peace plan that was perceived as heavily pro-Israeli by Palestinians and Muslim nations. Russia, the UN, and the EU all rejected the proposal.

“The Quartet failed to fulfill the functions entrusted to it by the UN Security Council,” Lavrov said, saying that the group also did not include any representatives of the Arab and Islamic world. Although it was expected to work in close coordination with the Arab League, the Western members of the Quartet were “not particularly keen on the idea,” according to the minister.

A new international mechanism aimed at securing “a lengthy sustainable resolution [of the conflict] on the basis of a two-state solution” should be “truly representative,” Lavrov said, adding that it should involve regional actors, as well as Arab and Muslim nations.

“The regional nations know best how to reach a solution that all sides would be happy with… forever,” he added.

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