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Moscow seriously concerned about situation around Gaza Strip — Russian Foreign Ministry

June 03, 2016, 16:29 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russia condemns all manifestations of violence and points to the need to bring the situation back to normal as soon as possible

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Russian Foreign Ministry

Russian Foreign Ministry

© Natalia Garnelis/TASS

MOSCOW, June 3. /TASS/. Moscow warns that the recurrence of confrontation in Gaza Strip is possible, if the infrastructure in this area is not restored, Russian presidential envoy for the Middle East and African countries and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said on Friday speaking at an international conference on the Palestinian-Israeli settlement in Paris. The text of his speech has been posted on the website of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

"The exchange of strikes between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza in early May of this year that became the biggest since the ceasefire agreement was reached in August 2014 is another confirmation of a well-known point, which is that the recurrence of confrontation is not ruled out without solving the enclave’s problems, lifting the blockade imposed on it and restoring its infrastructure destroyed by Israel, including in the summer of the year before last," Bogdanov said.

"Russia certainly condemns all manifestations of violence, whatever the reasons for them," the diplomat noted. "We have repeatedly called on the parties to the conflict to exercise restraint and take steps to reduce tensions."

"During the contacts with our Palestinian and Israeli partners we always point to the need to bring the situation back to normal as soon as possible and return to the negotiating table," Bogdanov added.

The diplomat also noted that the Middle East Quartet (United Nations, Unites States, European Union and Russia) was completing the report on the situation in Palestinian-Israeli settlement.

"Special envoys of the Quartet are now completing the report on the situation in the Palestinian-Israeli settlement. We will try to make the document balanced, so that it includes objective and unbiased analysis of the situation ‘on the spot’, as well as balanced recommendations concerning measures that the sides should take to preserve the option of the two-state solution," Bogdanov said at the international Middle East peace conference in Paris. "We hope that the report of the Quartet will be taken into account by participants in this meeting."

"It is obvious that calls for exercising restraint and discretion will be taken into account only when political prospects emerge - the understanding of a possibility to achieve mutually beneficial political settlement on the basis of existing international resolutions," the diplomat added.

Moscow "actively acts through the Middle East Quartet of international mediators that remains the only universally recognized mechanism of assisting the Palestinian-Israeli peace process," Bogdanov concluded.

"Point of no return" swiftly approaching

The Russian diplomat said the "point of no return" in the Palestinian-Israeli settlement may occur very soon.

"The Palestinian-Israeli settlement is now going through a very important and difficult stage. The pause in the political process between the sides has become too long," Bogdanov said at the international Middle East peace conference in Paris.

"The formula of the two-state solution is under real threat now. Though it has not been removed from the agenda, the prospects for fair settlement on the appropriate internationally recognized legal basis are in fact melting right in front of our eyes," the diplomat noted. "The ‘point of no return’ is swiftly approaching. Such developments will only facilitate further escalation of tensions."

Bogdanov said that the situation is exacerbated by "a very unstable security situation." "Radicals are trying to use the lack of dialogue between the sides. Unfortunately, they succeed at this. According to recent public opinion polls, antagonism between Palestinians and Israelis is steadily increasing," the diplomat added. "The memory is still fresh of the events of last autumn, when over 200 Palestinians and over 30 Israelis became victims of violence."

The deputy foreign minister noted that "the reasons for latest escalation have not yet been eliminated." "Separate incidents that happen on the West Bank of the Jordan River and in Jerusalem from time to time, represent clear indicators that risks of further escalation remain very high," he concluded.

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