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Lavrov, Erekat to discuss prospects for Middle East peace process

February 24, 2014, 6:09 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The negotiating process was resumed in summer 2013 with the mediation of Washington

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MOSCOW, February 24, 5:41 /ITAR-TASS/.The state of affairs in the Middle East peace process will be discussed on Monday by Russia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergei Larov, and Saeb Erekat, leader of the Palestinian delegation at the talks with Israel and member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization. This will be already a second meeting by Lavrov and the Palestinian representative over the past six months.

An RF Foreign Ministry official said that during the present consultations the sides would focus on "the state of affairs in the Palestinian-Israeli dialogue and its further prospects".

The negotiating process was resumed in summer 2013 with the mediation of Washington. Since then, the Palestinians and the Israelis have held at least 20 meetings. The timeframe allotted for the present round expires at the end of April. However, no tangible progress can be statd as of now. Neither has the negotiating period been without "sharp angles". Recently, for example, Israel strongly criticized the initiative of the President of the State of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, to make Jerusalem a common capital of the two states. "This is a set of self-same slogans which will once again lead the negotiating process into a deadlock," Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin pointed out in this connection.

Israel also used to announce plans several times to build new residential units in the occupied Palestinian territories. Such steps invariably evoked an unfavourable reaction of the international community, and first of all the indignation of Palestine itself.

Moscow, for its part, repeatedly called on both sides to refrain from unconstructive actions and, on the contrary, make moves to accommodate each other for bringing about a favouable atmosphere at the talks. The Russian side emphasizes that it is ready to help the dialogue forward in every way. As Sergei Lavrov stated earlier, Moscow is aware of "all the difficuties that stand in the way of a final settlement" of the conflcit. "We expect that as a result of (all the efforts) an understanding will be reached to meet the interests of both sides on the basis of an international legal framework," Lavrov said. "In our actions, including those taken by Russia as a member of the Quartet of international mediators and a Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council, we shall be guided by such an approach and promote as far as we can the accomplishment of this task," he assured.

Key regional probems are also expected to be touched upon during Monday's talks.

Besides, detailed consultations between Saeb Erekat and Sergei Vershinin, the RF Foreign Minister's speial representative on the Middle East peace process have been planned out as well.

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