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MOSCOW, October 27 (Itar-Tass) — Palestine and Israel said they are ready to cooperate with the Quartet for Mideast Peace without delay and preconditions, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.
“Representatives of both parties expressed their readiness to cooperate with the Quartet on the basis of the September statement in order to overcome the existing obstacles and resume a bilateral dialogue without delay and preconditions,” the diplomat noted.
“Representatives of both parties also agreed with the Quartet in order to present expanded proposals on the territories and security within the nearest three months within the context of common commitment to resuming direct talks, which are designed to achieve the settlement till the end of 2012 in accordance with the statement adopted by the ministers in New York on September 23,” Lukashevich stressed.
The spokesman said director of the Foreign Ministry Middle East and North Africa Department Sergei Vershinin, who was currently in the region, had held meetings with Palestinians and Israelis for talks on a wide range of issues. “Special attention was paid to the need to avoid provocations, primarily in the field of settlement activities under the Road Map obligations,” Lukashevich pointed out.
The Quartet on the Middle East, sometimes called the Diplomatic Quartet or Madrid Quartet or simply the Quartet, is a foursome of nations and international and supranational entities involved in mediating the peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Quartet are the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations. The group was established in Madrid in 2002 by the Spanish Prime Minister Aznar, as a result of the escalating conflict in the Middle East. Tony Blair is the Quartet's current Special Envoy.
The Russian leadership believes that the Israeli-Palestinian talks can be resumed only collectively on the basis of the strong basis of international law and in strict compliance with the 'Road Map', relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions and the Arab peace initiative. It is important to refrain from actions that would anticipate the outcome of the talks on the final status, stop all settlement activities in Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, and decisively fight terrorist manifestations.
Commenting on the direct talks between Palestine and Israel, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said, “Russia believes that the construction of new settlement by Israel on the occupied Palestinian territories is “one of the major obstacles” to a two-state solution that undermines international efforts to resume the dialogue and destroys existing hopes.”
By building new settlement, Israel “violates the norms and principles of international law and ignores the opinion of the Quartet… especially disturbing is the fact that such decisions are made at an extremely crucial time for the future peace process,” the diplomat said.
“Israel should revise its construction plans in East Jerusalem and stop demolishing Palestinian settlements,” Churkin said.
According to Churkin, “The two sides should refrain from unilateral steps anticipating the results of settlement, comply with international obligations, show political will and readiness for confidence-building measures and sustainable dialogue that would facilitate effective resolution of all issues related to the final status.”
He noted that Israel should suspend its settlement activities and comply with the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions and decisions of the Quartet of international mediators.
He stressed the need to “ensure Israel's legitimate security interests and put an end to missile attacks on Israeli territory.”
In addition, Churkin called for “restoring the Palestinian unity on the basis of the Palestine Liberation Organisation” and confirmed that Russia continued active efforts to facilitate these efforts by supporting mediating efforts, primarily those of Egypt.
In his opinion, when facilitating progress in the Palestinian-Israeli settlement it is necessary to lean on the generally recognised international legal framework, including Security Council resolutions, the Quartet decisions and the Arab peace initiative.
Russia has been consistently supporting the right of the Palestinians to create their own independent, territorially integral and viable state with the capital in East Jerusalem. This will benefit all - Palestinians, Israelis and the whole of the Middle East, he said.
Russia is actively involved in the work of the Middle East Quartet to promote Middle East settlement and calls for better coordination of international efforts in this respect.