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Too early to speak about international observers in Jerusalem - Russia’s UN envoy

October 22, 2015, 3:42 updated at: October 22, 2015, 6:18 UTC+3 THE UNITED NATIONS
"We should mull over the options," Churkin replied when asked about Russia’s stance
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Russian Permanent Representative at the United Nations Vitaly Churkin

Russian Permanent Representative at the United Nations Vitaly Churkin

© EPA/JASON SZENESJASON SZENES

THE UNITED NATIONS, October 22. /TASS/. It is too early to speak about international mission at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount but possible options in response to the deteriorating conflict between Israelis and Palestinians should be considered, Russian Permanent Representative at the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said on Wednesday following a session of the world organisation’s Security Council held behind closed doors.

"It is too early to talk about it but we should mull over these options," Churkin replied when asked about Russia’s stance. Besides, he said that the Russian delegation had not been familiarised with the text of UN Security Council chairman’s draft statement initiated by France and suggesting international presence in the region.

Churkin called as "good news" Ban Ki-moon’s written report submitted to the Security Council which enumerated all episodes of the international presence, with the Territory of the Saar Basin being the first one on the list. The region was ruled under the League of the Nations protectorate from 1920 until 1935. The UN secretary general had drafted the report at Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s request asking to put Palestine under international protection.

"The secretary general underscored that the report does not contain any recommendations on Palestine-related steps but evidently that the historic background is crucial for the Security Council to consider this," Churkin said.

UN Secretary General Ban KI-moon, who is on a surprise visit to the region, addressed the SC session via a video link up from Ramalla.

"His key phrase was that he was not optimistic," the Russian envoy said. "He has made a very good attempt though, but the situation remains very complicated. From my point of view, the international community needs to accelerate its steps."

He urged the Middle East Quartet of international mediators (Russia, the United States, the European Union and the UN) to make urgent visits to the region after they had been postponed recently due to the sharply deteriorating conflict.

"We are trying to organise the [Middle East] Quartet ministerial meeting in coming days so we would work as the Security Council needs to stay focused on the situation," Churkin said.

On Wednesday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said that Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov suggested in his phone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that a ministerial meeting of the Quartet for Middle East settlement should convene in Vienna on Friday, October 23.

On Thursday, the UN Security Council will engage in regular debates, with the focus on settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

UK Ambassador at the UN Matthew Rycroft said Ban’s briefing had been very pessimistic.

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