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MOSCOW, September 26 (Itar-Tass) —— Moscow will continue to facilitate a resumption of Palestinian-Israeli talks, the Foreign Ministry said after talks between Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.
The sides “discussed, in detail and in a trusting manner, the situation evolving in the Middle East and North Africa with a focus on the Palestinian-Israeli settlement”, the Foreign Ministry said.
Lavrov “stressed Russia’s readiness to continue, together with other members of the Middle East Quartet of international mediators and interested parties, to facilitate the speediest resumption of Palestinian-Israeli talks on the generally recognised basis in accordance with international law”.
Lavrov and Abbas noted “the importance of restoring Palestinian national unity as a mandatory condition for creating a viable Palestinian state that would co-exist with Israel in peace and as good neighbours”, the ministry said.
They also discussed certain practical issues of traditionally friendly Russian-Palestinian relations and “reiterated mutual interest to further step up political dialogue and expand mutually advantageous cooperation in various areas”, the ministry said.
The situation at the Palestinian-Israeli talks is “stalemate-like and disturbing”, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said earlier.
“I want to stress right away that the problem of achieving comprehensive, fair and lasting settlement in the Middle East remains a key one for us and other influential members of the international community and naturally for the countries of the region. The situation regarding progress in moving towards that settlement unfortunately appears to be stalemate-like and disturbing,” he said.
“Substantive talks between Palestinians and Israelis have not resumed so far on the basis of the legal framework set forth in the Quartet's statement of September 23, 2011. Despite that I can say that we are other interested sides continue to take energetic efforts in different formats in order to resume the process of Palestinian-Israeli settlement,” the spokesman said.
At its latest meeting the Middle East Quartet (Russia, the U.S., the EU, and the U.N.) had a detailed discussion of the situation and expressed special concern about Israel's continuing settlement activities that jeopardises the creation of a viable Palestinian state and resolution of the Palestinian problem on a dual-state basis. It was noted that such actions, unlawful from the point of view of international law, have a very negative impact on the current efforts to overcome stagnation in the Palestinian-Israeli settlement, Lukashevich said.
“The members of the Quartet agreed to continue consistent work in order to find a mutually acceptable basis for resuming substantive talks between Palestinians and Israelis. This requires first of all the creation of a positive atmosphere in relations between the sides, which is naturally impossible without mutual meaningful gestures,” he said.
“It is obvious that progress in this respect would have a general revitalising effect on the situation in the region that is living through a difficult period of radical transformations,” Lukashevich said.
The Middle East Quartet of international mediators earlier confirmed its position in support of agreement between Israel and Palestine before the end of this year.
The Quartet reiterated its call on the parties to remain engaged and to refrain from provocative actions.