MOSCOW, December 22 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia and the European Union call for direct negotiations without preconditions to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"Following the recent evolution of events in the Middle East, the European Union and the Russian Federation firmly believe in the need to take bold and concrete steps to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This will be achieved by the possible negotiations without conditions and by referring to the UN Security Council Resolutions 242, 338, 1397, 1515, 1850, the Madrid principles including land for peace, the Roadmap, the Arab Peace Initiative and the agreements previously reached between the parties," said the joint statement of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton about the Middle East peace process. The statement is published on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website.
The European Union and the Russian Federation affirm that clear parameters outlining the basis for negotiations are key elements for a successful outcome. All parties must avoid acts which undermine confidence and the viability of a two-state solution. The European Union and the Russian Federation underline the urgency of renewed, structured and substantial peace efforts in 2013.
Towards this end, they are ready to work with other international partners, including within the Quartet. There will be no sustainable peace until the Palestinians' aspirations for statehood and sovereignty and those of Israelis for security are fulfilled through a comprehensive negotiated peace agreement.
The European Union and the Russian Federation are deeply dismayed by and strongly oppose Israeli plans to expand settlements in the West Bank and in particular plans to develop the El area. These plans, if implemented, would jeopardize the possibility of a contiguous and viable Palestinian state. The European Union and the Russian Federation reiterate that settlements are illegal under international law and constitute an obstacle to peace. The European Union and the Russian Federation will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties.
On 29 November, the UN General Assembly voted in favour of resolution A/RES/67/19 on the granting of non-member observer State status in the United Nations to Palestine. The European Union and the Russian Federation call on the Palestinian leadership to use constructively this new status and not to undertake steps which would deepen the lack of trust and lead further away from a negotiated solution.
The European Union and the Russian Federation call for intra- Palestinian reconciliation behind President Mahmoud Abbas, in line with the principles set out in his speech of 4 May 2011, as an important element for the unity of a future Palestinian state and a two-state solution.