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Russian FM calls for soonest lifting of blockade on Gaza

December 11, 2013, 23:14 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Sergei Lavrov had a telephone conversation with one of the Hamas leaders
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MOSCOW, December 11, (ITAR-TASS). Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for the speediest lifting of the blockade on Gaza Strip.

Lavrov had a telephone conversation with one of the Hamas leaders, Ismail Haniyeh, who briefed him on the socioeconomic situation in Gaza and his vision for resolving remaining disagreements between the main Palestinian factions - Fatah and Hamas.

The Russian minister “reiterated Russia’s position of principle, which is based on the relevant U.N. decisions, in support of the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people to create an independent and territorially integral state that lives in peace and accord with its neighbours.”

He also called for the speediest lifting of the blockade on Gaza in order to improve the severe humanitarian situation for Palestinian civilians.

“Sergei Lavrov placed special emphasis on the restoration of Palestinian national unity on the political platform of the PLO and the Arab Peace Initiative as a key factor for ensuring effective Palestinian-Israeli settlement on the generally recognised principles of international law,” the Foreign Ministry said.

At a meeting with Nabil Shaath, member of the Central Committee of the Fatah movement, earlier this year, Lavrov also reiterated Russia’s principled stance in support of Palestinian unity.

Lavrov and Shaath “paid attention to the prospects for overcoming the protracted stalemate on the Palestinian track of the Middle East settlement in light of the U.S. efforts to resume Palestinian-Israeli talks,” the Foreign Ministry said.

“Lavrov reaffirmed Russia's principled position in support of the speediest achievement of Palestinian unity on the PLO platform, without which no full Palestinian-Israeli settlement can be possible,” the ministry said.

The diplomats also exchanged views on the developments in the Middle East and North Africa and “agreed that there is no alternative to resolving crises by peaceful political methods and respect for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of states,” the ministry said.

Lavrov and Shaath also discussed pressing aspects of “further strengthening of traditionally friendly Russian-Palestinian relations.”

The Russian president’s special representative for the Middle East and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and Shaath also co-chaired a meeting of the Russian-Palestinian Working Committee on the Middle East, during which the sides discussed the full regional agenda and reaffirmed their commitment to further close coordination on issues of mutual interest.

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