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Russia concerned over 'dangerous escalation' in Gaza — diplomat

May 16, 11:38 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Moscow calls for direct Palestinian-Israeli talks on the status of Jerusalem

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Palestinian protesters burn tires during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel

Palestinian protesters burn tires during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel

© AP Photo/Adel Hana

MOSCOW, May 16. /TASS/. Moscow is highly concerned over the escalation of tensions in the Gaza Strip and denounces the use of military force against the civil population, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday.

"Moscow is extremely concerned over the dangerous escalation in the Gaza Strip and in some areas on the West Bank," she said. "We confirm the Palestinians’ rights to peaceful protests and denounce the use of military force against the civil population." "We call again on the involved parties to show restraint and abandon moves that may provoke further escalation," the diplomat added.

The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman offered condolences to the families and friends of the deceased and wished a speedy recovery to those injured in the protests.

Moscow favors direct Palestinian-Israeli talks on the status of Jerusalem, she said. 

"Russia’s position on Jerusalem remains unchanged: the city should remain the capital of two independent states, Palestine and Israel, and be open for followers of all three monotheistic religions," she said. "Specific aspects of the agreement on the status of Jerusalem should be developed in the course of direct Palestinian - Israeli talks. Russia will continue to support this approach." "We repeatedly stated that in order to stop the growth of violence it is necessary to move the issue towards the settlement of a substantial and effective negotiation process based on the decisions of the UN Security Council and the General Assembly, as well as the Arab Peace Initiative," she added.

The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman noted that the role of the global community is to help the Israelis and Palestinians to move towards a long-term and just peace that would benefit the interests of both parties, and not to "make unilateral moves that impede efforts to create conditions to implement a two-state solution to the Palestinian issue."

Violent clashes broke out between Palestinians and the Israeli military on the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip on Monday, following the official move of the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on the same day. More than 60 Palestinians were killed and more than 2,800 were injured in the clashes, according to the latest reports.

The status of Jerusalem is a key problem in the Palestinian - Israeli conflict. The Israelis occupied the eastern part of the city during the 1967 war. They insist that Jerusalem is the eternal and indivisible capital of Israel. The Palestinians, in their turn, want to make the eastern part of the city the capital of their state.

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