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9 Dec, 2009 12:18

Moscow to maintain dialogue with all Middle East parties – FM

Following his meeting with the Palestinian Autonomy’s Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov promised that Russia will continue to participate in the Middle East peace process.

According to Lavrov, immediately following the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian talks, Moscow will host a conference on the Middle East.

“The main reason of it is the resumed negotiation process to be widely supported by the international community,” Lavrov said.

As for the outgoing Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who said he will not participate in the upcoming Palestinian elections, he will visit Moscow again in January, as al-Maliki reported.

The Hamas movement, which does not support the current Palestinian government, will most likely be invited to the Moscow conference also.

“We will continue working with Hamas. This is Russia's contribution to efforts aimed at achieving inter-Palestinian unity,” he said, adding that Moscow is concerned over the situation in the Middle East.

“Now, more than ever, we appreciate this opportunity to hold timely talks that will certainly address our bilateral affairs and, primarily, the situation surrounding the Middle East settlement process, which cannot help but sadden us.”

Russia sees the ultimate mission in establishing “an independent and viable Palestinian state that would live side-by-side with Israel in peace and security”, while the short-term goal, according to Lavrov, is to lift the Israeli blockade off Gaza.

“Civilians cannot be held hostages,” Lavrov said, adding that the work of the Quartet of Middle East mediators could have been more effective.

Prior to his meeting with Lavrov, al-Maliki spoke with RT.