UNITED NATION, April 23 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia is working actively towards inter-Palestinian reconciliation which is critical for a sustainable settlement in the Middle East, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said.
He said a second inter-Palestinian meeting is to be held in Moscow in the second half of May. During the consultations Russian diplomats plan to “continue efforts to encourage Hamas and Fatah to achieve national reconciliation on the basis of the Doha agreements”, he said at the U.N. Security Council on Monday, April 23.
The first inter-Palestinian meeting took place in the Moscow region on May 21-22, 2011. The Hamas and Fatah leaders adopted a joint declaration in which they confirmed Russia’s considerable role in the strengthening of Palestine’s positions in the international arena and the role of Egypt in inter-Palestinian reconciliation in Cairo on May 4, 2011.
In March of this year a Palestinian delegation visited Moscow to attend a meeting of the Russian-Palestinian Committee on the Middle East, which convenes twice a year to discuss all areas of our cooperation and draft bilateral cooperation projects.
Fatah Central Committee Chairman and Head of the Fatah International Relations Commissioner Nabeel Shaath noted Russia’s support. “Russia has always supported us as a member of the Middle East Quartet in the U.N. and UNESCO. Russia is a friend of the Palestinian people and I think we have also shown ourselves as true friends of your country in the Arab world throughout the history of our relations,” Shaath.
Speaking of the political situation in Palestine, Shaath noted that “we need to wait for consensus in Hamas” before the elections are held.
“We are not going to exert pressure on them. We are waiting for them to decide who they want to be their leader. We hope that the next step will be the formation of an interim government and preparation of the elections,” he said.
Speaking of a resumption of direct talks with Israel, Shaath stressed that Palestine will be ready to return to the dialogue only if Israel agrees to “listen to the international community’s call for stopping the settlement activities and complies with the Middle East Quartet’s road map. If Israel does this, we will be ready to begin negotiations even tomorrow”.
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.”