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Russia suggests meeting of Middle East Quartet envoys, says diplomat

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova recalled that the unresolved Palestinian problem remains among the key factors of instability in the Middle East

MOSCOW, February 13. /TASS/. Moscow suggests holding shortly a meeting of the Middle East Quartet at the level of its special envoys, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a commentary uploaded to the ministry’s website on Thursday.

According to the diplomat, teamwork of the global community is necessary to achieve a just and final Middle East settlement. "Within this context, we emphasize that establishing direct Palestinian-Israeli negotiations under the global aegis has no alternative. With this in view, we believe that the international quartet of the United Nations, the European Union, Russia and the US, recognized by the UN Security Council as the only mechanism for facilitating the Middle East peace process, must take the role of an efficient mediator," the diplomat stressed.

"We suggest holding a meeting of the Quartet at the level of special envoys in the near future," Zakharova pointed out.

She also noted that the "deal of the century" unveiled by the US cannot become the basis for the Palestinian-Israeli settlement, since it ignores the main elements of the generally recognized international legal framework of the Middle East settlement, formalized in resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations and the Arab Peace Initiative.

The unresolved Palestinian problem remains among the key factors of instability in the Middle East, the diplomat stressed.

On January 28, US President Donald Trump unveiled key provisions of what he calls "the deal of the century," or a peace plan for Israel and Palestine based on mutual recognition of the two-state solution. The plan provides for recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over Jewish settlements already built on the Palestinian territory. Under the plan, Jerusalem will be "undivided" capital of Israel and East Jerusalem will be Palestine’s capital. As a precondition for the peace process, according to Trump, Palestine’s authorities should stop supporting the Hamas radical movement operating in Gaza and cease hostilities. The plan suggests more than 50 billion US dollars be facilitated in new investments over ten years as support to the settlement efforts. More than a half of the sum is supposed to go to Palestine and the rest is planned to be invested in Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced support to Trump’s plan and expressed readiness for immediate launch of peace talks with the Palestinians. Meanwhile, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas turned down Trump’s deal.